Come founded Kids 2.0, a non-profit dedicated to training youth about how innovation with technology works, in order to encourage kids to become better informed and purpose-driven about their use of technology – especially smart devices. “I have found that when we hand over devices to children without understanding there is more to it than entertainment,” he said, “it is easy for kids to become dependent upon games and not rely upon their own innovative power.”
Come’s son, Nicolas, ten years old, created a healthy eating app for kids called Nicolas’ Garden when he was eight years old. The app was born out of solving the problem of being a picky eater, and Nicolas wanted to help other kids learn about healthy food and growing a garden.
Similarly, Come instructs children about the fundamentals of the cyber realm, starting with circuits and incorporating hands-on projects to apply the concepts. Today they are building prototypes with a decade counter and timer circuits to turn on and off an LED light.“Computers are dumb,” Come said. “They only know on and off. But they are also very fast and can process ‘on and off’ commands billions of times per second, and so they can appear smart.”
Scott Taggart works with Come to develop the Kids 2.0 program. “Kids need to understand that analog is the real world – from zero to infinity,” he said. “It incorporates sound and light. Energy is a curve, not a bit or a byte.”
Taggart hopes Kids 2.0 will help to instill in young minds an appreciation that computers and apps are actually an approximation for the real deal. “The smart phones and apps are so compelling,” he said. “Our children can easily be convinced to give more time and attention to the smart phone; the kids don’t want to do other things.” For Taggart, being smarter than the device sometimes requires putting it away. He says his son was provided a smart phone last year and sometimes he puts it away so that his son can be reminded that he really does not need it.
To learn more about Kids 2.0 programs and activities, go to: MeetUp Kids Lab.