[hackerspaces] Children in hackerspaces.

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Mon Jan 25 16:47:25 CET 2010

I think kids should be allowed in hackerspaces when conditions make that a
sane parenting move.

Tommy Juvenile
Dave Derelict
Tim Hacker
Maxine Maker

Setting: A random hacker space in present day United States.

Act I:

Maxine and Tim enter

Tim:  wow this is awesome, we're hacking up a storm.
Maxine: hell yes it is.  I just attached a cat to another cats back and
through it off a roof...  I've violated the fundamental laws of conservation
of energy.  Next!  Toast!

Act II:

Maxine and Tim are hosting an open hackathon
Dave Derelict enters with his son Tommy Juvenile
Tim: Hey Dave, brought the kid today eh?
Dave: Yeah, he loves this stuff
Tommy stares blankly
Dave unpacks and gets to work assembling a fine product from american vendor
adafruit.  Go USA!
Maxine: Hey Tim come help me hoist up this antenna on the roof.
Tim: Okay, Dave you have the helm.
Dave: leave it to me!
Dave solders away
Tommy is wandering around
Tim and Maxine exit

Act III:

Tim and Maxine enter
Dave is finishing up his kit
Tommy is lying under a collapsed shelf
Tim:  Jesus Christ!
Maxine: I'll call 911
Dave:  This thing is so cool.
Tommy gives a death rattle.

Act IV:

Tim and Maxine are sitting under a box eating cat food.
Tim: We had waivers..
Maxine: We had insurance..
Together: Why the hell did we attach our names to this...

Big Dance Number.

Obviously a worse case scenario.  But it closely mimics a real scenario that
almost played out at nycr.  What you need to realize about US liability is
that it absolutely is 100% non functional.  TORT reform has been wanted by
most people for 30 years.  But beyond that, courts always rule in the
interests of what is best for the welfare of a child.  One major injury to a
child under any circumstances would be the end of your hackerspace.
Insurance would likely cover it, but you'd be unable to pay increased fees
and find a new provider.  And that's best case.

Additionally some folks just don't want to deal with kids sometimes.  Which
I get as well, but that's neither here nor there.

Simply put though, a kid could easily hurt themselves in our space.  And we
would cease to exist for increasing values of hurt.


You can argue with that logic as much as you want, but we did our homework
at nycr and contacted local legal minds.  Our rule against kids was base
mostly on this single issue.  I was among an almost non existent group of
dissenters, but I clearly recognize the sanity in choosing to disallow
children in US spaces.

On Jan 25, 2010 9:25 AM, "jur1st" <jur1st at cowtowncomputercongress.org>

Our memberships apply to households and if a kid isn't of legal age to enter
into a contract their parents must sign on their behalf.

Parents (that would be involved in hackerspaces) aren't stupid and even with
our new CNC machine, we don't have anything down there more dangerous than
what you might find in a high school shop class or down at the vo-tec.

For what it's worth, our insurance provider didn't specifically ask about
minors using the facility.

- jur1st

On Jan 25, 2010, at 7:55 AM, Eric Gerlach wrote: > On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at
01:16:53PM +0100, webm...

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