It's a good day to be a tech-savvy child. The Reading Rainbow iPad app has finally launched, and hackers from all over the world are currently coding day and night to build a better internet for kids.
The 2012 EUhackathon has brought some of the best coders in the world together in Brussels, Belgium. This year's goal is to increase children's safety online, while also increasing their online creativity. Corporate sponsors of the event include Google, Facebook, Orange, and Vodafone, all of which have sent engineers to the hackathon. The event is part of the European Commission's Better Internet for Kids initiative. European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, who is known for her pro-internet stances on web openness and net neutrality, prepared a short statement of encouragement for the hackathon participants:
Marco Pancini, senior policy manager at Google Brussels, announced in a post on the European Public Policy Blog that Google will be hosting the event at its offices in Brussels. This will be the second EUhackathon Google has hosted. Last year's hackathon was centered around bringing more transparency to the internet. Pancini stated that, since children are the focus of this year's hackathon, it is only appropriate that children are participants. From the blog post:
Children are central to this latest EUhackathon and are being given the opportunity to participate in the competition. Our youngest hacker is 13 years old! A total of 25 teenagers from the European schools in Brussels, aged between 12 and 15, will assist, participate and get first hand experience of computer coding.
A Jury made up of representatives from the corporate sponsors, figures from European agencies, children, and a teacher will be judging the work at the hackathon. Kroes will be awarding two winning teams, one for the safety track and one for the creativity track, on June 21. The winning teams will receive €5,000 each.