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Teaching Kids to Play With Power Tools

The TED people recently posted a short talk by Gever Tulley with the wonderful title 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do.

Tulley founded The Tinker School, a summer program that helps kids build things they think of and in the process teach them how to use these “dangerous things” safely and responsibly.

But his comments about child safety in the physical world could certainly be applied to the way we approach their safety online.

We live in a world that’s subjected to ever more stringent child safety regulations. There doesn’t seem to be any limit on how crazy child safety regulations can get.

Where does this trend stop? When we round every sharp corner and eliminate every sharp object, every pokie bit in the world, then the first time that kids come in contact with anything sharp or not made out of rounded plastic, then they’ll hurt themselves with it.

So, as the boundaries of what we determine as the safety zone grow ever smaller, we cut off our children from valuable opportunities to interact with the world around them.

And, despite all of our best efforts and intentions, kids are always going to figure out how to do the most dangerous thing they can in whatever environment they can.

Tulley’s five dangerous things (actually six) include some things you’d expect – fire, knives – and one you may not.

Break the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

There are laws, beyond the safety regulations, that attempt to limit how we interact with the things that we own, in this case digital media.

Which then leads into allowing kids to drive a car.

That jump is a little hard to explain. You’ll just have to watch the video to see how he connects it all together.

ted talks, children, safety, internet, dmca


  1. Jenny

    My sister co-teaches Tinkering School with Gever and I think he is brilliant. Our schools would do well to pay more attention to folks like him.

  2. Chris Lehmann

    Funny thing… I just showed that TEDTalk to my Advisory on Friday afternoon. It engendered a really interesting conversation about childhood and how we are raising our kids.

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