[hackerspaces] Children in hackerspaces.

Stefan Arentz stefan at arentz.ca
Mon Jan 25 13:52:20 CET 2010

On 2010-01-25, at 7:16 AM, webmind wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Eric Gerlach wrote:
>> Any time I've heard about a hackerspace banning kids, the word
>> "Insurance" has always been nearby.
>> It's all about liability or the perception thereof.  If you have an
>> insurer that is okay with it, sweet.  If not, prepare to pay to allow
>> those kids in.
> I agree, up to the point of the last 2 sentences. Everyone seems to be
> very worried about liability, in way that common sense and mutual
> respect are just no longer in existence.
> 1) kids hurt themselves, they always do, and they learn that way.
> 2) what parents allow a kid to do, is the parents responsibility, not
> where they might hang out. The owner of the sidewalk is not responsible
> for a kid falling of his bike on it. that just doesn't make sense.

This is naive.

It has nothing to do with mutual respect and actually everything with common sense.

If you run a space then you can be held personally responsible and liable for things that happen in your space. This is very true here in North America but also most certainly in The Netherlands. Even though the dutch are more pragmatic and deal with things differenlty, those same liabilities exist.

(I moved to Toronto two years ago from Amsterdam and I am one of the directors of hacklab.to)

It is only common sense to protect yourself and the hacker space from potential lawsuits. If you do not take care of this then you put your hackerspace at risk. One thing going wrong, with either an adult or minor member, could lead to lawsuits and ultimately the space closing.

Fortunately it is fairly simple to deal with this. The two most simple ways are proper insurance and waivers that members sign when they sign up. Waivers that basically say 'You are responsible for your own actions.'

Minors cannot legally sign such a waiver, so they will need to have permission from their parents.


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