Kids and Computers

It’s a common thread among computer professional to complain about “kids these days” when we look at potential new hires. It’s always hard to separate how much of that is real vs. how much of it is what people do when they get older, i.e. complain about those young-uns that are on your lawn.

So this was an interesting refreshing look at what it means that Kids can’t use computers, especially when it comes to what we screwed up on.

But the curriculum isn’t the only area in which we’ve messed up. Our network infrastructures in UK schools is equally to blame. We’ve mirrored corporate networks, preventing kids and teachers access to system settings, the command line and requiring admin rights to do almost anything. They’re sitting at a general purpose computer without the ability to do any general purpose computing. They have access to a few applications and that’s all. The computers access the internet through proxy servers that aggressively filter anything less bland than Wikipedia, and most schools have additional filtering software on-top so that they can maintain a white-list of ‘suitable sites’.

I hadn’t thought about that perspective before, but in playing network lock down, you reduce computing skills. I actually wonder if this same problem is happening at corporate networks as well, and one of the reasons large companies get so bad at organic innovation. Lock everything down, and no one can actually explore new ideas.

Via @anteaya.

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