There's been much discussion to get STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) more into the schools to keep the USA advanced in those areas. This is especially true to get the lower grades and specifically girls more involved. I had a discussion with a nine year old who is quite involved.
Her name is Alexandra “Alex” Jordan from Sunnyvale, California. She has been studying programming for the last year from Code Academy and her father. She has a grasp of HTML and has been studying Ruby and is looking into Raspberry Pi. One might not expect a fourth grader to be interested in attending the Disrupt SF Hackathon but she also presented a potential website that she was designing.
She saw a need for her, her friends and other children in the 7-12 age group. The need for arranging playdates. Birthday parties can be arranged without going through the school and having to invite the whole class. There is a plan to use ooVoo a video chat application within her website. If a friend is sick, up to 11 can visit or there can be a video girl scout meeting.
But is it safe for this group to be chatting with each other? Yes, if the parents are involved. Using parents as the gateway is the only way that the website is accessible for the youths. Parents confirm the sign-up and the contact information. Parents need to make contact with another parent. Because of this built in parental consent, ooVoo is available since the application has a minimum age of 13 in order to use it. Dad is busy with this security, but Alex has come up with a design for the children's portion for the password. To make it kid friendly there will be a slot machine with with items like animals, colors and fruit. There will also be no ads on the children's side.
Alex and her father are teaming up for other projects. Since there is not programming classes at her school just a class on how to keyboard, they plan on starting a girls club for programming and structure like VPN access and using the computer remotely. The next website involves children being able to access different videos of YouTube without having the adult themed videos being splashed across the screen.
With 5000 already preregistered, she hopes to have a launch of the website, superfunkidtime.com, sometime this month, just in time for the Christmas holiday from school. We wish her luck and hope Alex had a quality Halloween as a female Darth Vader.