[hackerspaces] Children in hackerspaces.

john arclight arclight at gmail.com
Sun Jan 24 23:15:03 CET 2010

We have people bring their kids to our space. As long as the parents are
cool (and the types who bring their kids to a hacker space generally are)
then there is no problem. They don't expect us to be a free babysitter, nor
freak out if their kids stub their toe when nobody was looking. It's mostly
a "use common sense" situation for us.


On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 1:25 PM, Adam D Bachman <adam.bachman at gmail.com>wrote:

> 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, btw)
> 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
> level.
> 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
> http://adambachman.org
> http://baltimorenode.org
> 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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