Atul Varma of Mozilla Labs has a great post up, “Kids and the Open Web” where he advocates having the Mozilla Drumbeat initiative explicitly include some messaging around the value of an open web for children:
... what if promotional materials for the Open Web focused on how it makes lives better for children who are budding hackers? Lots of adults aren’t tech savvy, but they know that their kids are, and if we can prove that the Open Web is better for their kids, and that they can make their kids’ lives better by choosing a standards-compliant browser, maybe they will.
I think having a Mozilla Drumbeat angle for kids is a great idea. I would add to this a comment and a question:
First, parents shouldn’t need to buy their kids a learning system or a kid’s computer, or an educational software package; everything the child needs should be easily accessible from their regular web browser.
Second, what is the open web equivalent of that Atari 400 with BASIC that served as a first introduction to programming for Atul and others? Whatever it is, it should be simple to learn and provide almost immediate gratification to the budding hacker, while still having sufficient power to command someone’s sustained attention. I have my personal opinions on this (which I don’t have time to go into right now), but am interested in others’ thoughts.