The EUHackathon was a new event started up last year that aimed to "build a bridge between the "old" (the European Institutions and lawmakers) and the "new" (the Internet and coders) world." It brought together these two cultures that seem to be at odds quite frequently for a weekend of innovation and cooperation.
The EUHackathon has a theme every year with last year's being Hack4Transparency. This year's theme might get some more interesting results as its theme is Hack4Kids. Not only are the coders going to be making apps for children, but kids are also going to make up the judging panel.
Interested coders have two tracks they can pursue in regards to Hack4Kids. They can either create an app focused on child safety or child creativity. I can already bet which one is going to be more popular, even though both are equally important.
The child safety track "offers developers a chance to creator or improve tools that enhance the Internet experience of children and parents." Some of the initial ideas include "providing simple and robust reporting tools for harmful online content or behavior, crowdsourcing content classification, creating easier parental control tools, and education and awareness raising."
That all sounds well and good, but the child creativity track just sounds way more fun. The idea here is to "explore how industry can support and improve children's creativity online and offline." The examples are far more exciting as well with coders potentially creating tools that allow children to "easily create new online content, from building their own 3D game environment to producing their own hit single."
If there's anything I learned from watching children, it's that they're creative powerhouses. Giving them the tools to create only means good things for their future and ours. I rarely jump on the bandwagon for the "children are the future" sentiment, but just give a kid some creative tools and see what happens. You'll be surprised and that's probably what the organizers of the EUHackathon are expecting to happen.
If hacking for children isn't enough for you, the organizers of the event (Google, Facebook, etc) are willing to foot the travel and accommodation costs for "selected applicants." Even if you don't get a free ride, there'll be free food and Wi-Fi available. Besides, if you somehow win, you'll be awarded with €5,000. That's a little over $6,500. If that doesn't make you want to hack for the kids, I don't know what will.
For those interested, you can submit your application here before April 30. The event will take place in Brussels, Belgium from June 20 to the 21. I hear Belgium has really good chocolate if you needed one last reason to hack for the kids, just sayin'.