Seth’s mum and family knows a thing or two about going with the flow. When your son is a young hacker, the way you choose to embrace or reject their unique skillset as a parent can make or break them. I first met Seth ‘the Script Kiddie’ at Mozilla technology festival 2016, where he ran a hacker session with Kali Linux. Prior to that, as I chatted to his mum via Skype, I conveyed to her that at MozFest, both she and Seth would be made to feel accepted with us — even if the world outside our walls could not yet do so. …

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I often wonder what’s the best way to protect my daughter from the impact of technology, as it becomes ever more pervasive and permanent in our world. Skipping back a few decades, a similar dilemma faced parents as motor cars became a common sight on the roads as the latest must have tech. And I wonder how many accidents did it take before parents taught their children to look left and right before crossing the road? How long did it take before the first public safety campaign about motor cars made its appearance?

As the mother of a daughter who is tomboyish, I often ask myself another question: Should I take her to a Judo club or the Sea Cadets? Could a dojo be the right place for her to learn the how of defending herself physically, and as a group of like minded people and her peers, help her understand that just because you have the power to do something, it does not automatically mean you should do it? …

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“I know more than most adults about tech — why am I not valued for what’s in my head and trusted that I know my own mind?”

“Why does society pigeonhole me and holds me back just because of my age?”

“Why do I have to wait until I am 18 to be a citizen?”

“We are always told the adults know better. It’s a lie — they don’t!”

These are the kind of thoughts I regularly get from young people. They don’t use words like “Citizens”, “Valued”, “Society” and “Pigeonhole” that’s a language we use and while they express their frustrations differently it amounts to the same, within each of them lies a need to be trusted as one of us; to be defined by what they can do, and what they know, instead of being held back because of age. They know when they are being fobbed off and given platitudes, but they also let you know when you get it right. “Thank you for not just treating me like a 13 year old and nothing more.” this from a young man and his friends who were invited to come be part of the first MozFest retreat last year in Scotland to help us design MozFest with you the audience our peers in mind. …

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