[hackerspaces] Children in hackerspaces.

Adam D Bachman adam.bachman at gmail.com
Sun Jan 24 22:25:25 CET 2010

Just to throw in an anecdote, I had my kids (4, 3, and 0.5) and my wife
along at a special workshop this weekend at Baltimore Node (guest starring
Mitch Altman! http://baltimorenode.org/2010/01/next-saturday/). They brought
along a box of Legos and some books and were in their own world as deeply
and almost as long as I was. (and my coffee roaster mods work beautifully,

We're homeschooling our kids and bringing them out into the world is part of
life. Of course they don't do the same things I do but dammit, this is a
hackerspace. The 45 year old sitting next to me at the workbench is highly
unlikely to be doing the same things I do. We both come to do things that
stimulate our minds. Being around passionate people inspires passion in me,
and I assume it's reciprocal. I create at my level, she creates at her

Age has nothing to do with it.

I expect to be responsible for my kids because I care about their safety and
I care about them not messing with other people's stuff. But, I don't have
time for people who oppose children on principle. That's ageism and doesn't
make sense. Come in at the same time as my family and get to know them
before you lump them in with every other young human on the planet.

As far as the space and official rules and family rates, I'm one of the
*very* few members with kids, so we talked about it, but it's just not
relevant yet, so no legislation necessary. (again: if it ain't broke, don't
fix it. why isn't this in the hackerspace design patterns collection?)

As long as I've got a key and there's no specific rules or legalities
preventing me from bringing my kids, I'm going to bring them and free them
to create according to my and their own judgement.

Having written this, I can see that it's a simple decision for me, but also
that my own passion for the topic reflected onto the opposite position could
create some real flame wars. If you'd like to take it in that direction, I'd
be happy to take this off list or perhaps discuss over a beer :)

- Adam

On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 3:50 PM, Rose White <rose at yarnivore.com> wrote:

> Hi! I'm so happy to hear about experiences with kids at different
> hackerspaces. I can offer that Matt exclaimed with laughter because, for a
> few weeks, it seemed like the subject of "kids at NYC Resistor" was going to
> pull our wonderful hackerspace completely apart in arguments.
> Some hackerspaces don't allow anyone under 18, but in San Francisco, the
> Crucible (http://thecrucible.org/) which teaches *welding* and other
> dangerous things (like firebreathing! squee!), has classes for kids as young
> as 12.
> Love the stories from syn2cat! Yay kiddos!
> And in the North Bay (near Santa Rosa and Sebastopol), a few of us are
> trying to set up a small hackerspace that is primarily meant *for*
> kids/teens. We want to help the kids involved figure out how to
> self-organize the space, after we give them some guidance to start.
> Peace, love, and dreams of the future --
> -- Rose/yarnivore
> On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 12:30 PM, Steve Clement <steve at localhost.lu>wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> webmind wrote:
>> > In reaction to:
>> > "A topic which I would love to raise at some point in the near future -
>> -
>> > 'children in hackerspaces'."
>> We here at syn2cat do a lot with Kids in and around our HackerSpace.
>> The last thing we did was a Soldering workshop with 10-12 year olds and
>> it was a full success. And guess what, they did burn their fingers and
>> did not spontaneously combust! FTW!
>> We were 3 "supervisors" for 12 Kids. Mostly for convenience so they can
>> ask us questions and we can properly help.
>> The only important thing we had to do is explain the ground rules and
>> that in case they burn themselves they need to tell us and we'll fix em'
>> up.
>> As this was a School Class the "School" Paid for everything which
>> covered our investments into the Kits etc.
>> I guess working with Kids needs a lot of common sense. It comes without
>> saying that we will NOT let them "fire the Lazor!!" or hand everyone a
>> chainsaw for the fun of it.
>> And yes the younger they are the more they like to draw stuff.
>> I gave one entry-level IT Security course for Kids. And I was overwelmed
>> by the Fact that there were 20 of them and I wasn't ready yet and they
>> were impatient so I handed them paper and colors. Then told them to draw
>> me a Computer Virus and a Computer Worm.
>> It was pretty impressive how they interprete these terms ;)
>> Anyway, we at syn2cat are available for any help or questions you might
>> have related to Kids and Hacking.
>> Our next bigger project (starting in 3 weeks) is an Electronics workshop
>> for 12-15 year old girls.
>> If anyone has more experience working with Girls (and what they actually
>> like and enjoy) we would be more than happy to hear more about that on
>> another Thread.
>> cheers,
>> Steve
>> - --
>> The Hackerspace in Luxembourg!
>> syn2cat Hackerspace.lu A.S.B.L.
>> 11, am Hueflach | L-8018 Strassen
>> http://www.hackerspace.lu
>> xmpp:SteveClement at jabber.hackerspaces.org<xmpp%3ASteveClement at jabber.hackerspaces.org>
>> mailto:steve at hackerspace.lu
>> .lu: +352 20 333 55 65
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