Make Magazine posts asking whether kids belong in a hackerspace:
I think it’s a really important point, many spaces point out an apparent increase in liability from having <18 year olds around the space, or that an “adult environment” exists that’s unsuitable for children. We’ll be aiming to allow anyone >16 to join as a member (parental permission on the membership/liability contracts of course), because it’s important to allow anyone to get involved in the space and be active in the community. Younger people provide an important perspective on things, often having an insightful perspective that’s missed if it isn’t present.
For those younger than 16 the line begins to blur, I think it’s very important they’re able to be involved, but depending on the child they may not be prepared to work in an unsupervised environment or they may be very well prepared. Looking at recent survey results from Jarkko:
There’s non-existent participation from younger folks:
A signicant amount of the hackerspace members are in the late twenties. This is consistent with the previous research about FLOSS community. The age situation in hackerspaces can be described to be expected, but it raises the question where is the younger generation of hackers? Where are the 10 -15 year old hackers? They are not in the FLOSS projects nor in Hackerspaces. Are they developing and playing Flash games? Or playing and modificating console and PC games? If so, then the young hackers are now part of the game hacker generation.
We’ll have to see who’s out in the Madison community and if they’re interested in getting involved 🙂