Ryan Frantz
Toddlers Are Natural Hackers
I have a two-year old toddler. We play with machines and dinosaurs. Usually in the dirt. We run in circles. A lot. One of the best things about having a son is that the world is new again through his eyes. And so it is that I have come to a simple thesis: toddlers are natural hackers. I'll explain.

I will shy away from attempting to (re)define the term 'hacker' or to outline the many aspects of being a hacker (see this page for a decent breakdown); that's a topic in and of itself.  I will, however, describe a few key attributes that I've seen in my little man that have lead me to this conclusion.
  1. Toddlers are inquisitive.  They see something new and they want to learn about it; they want to know what makes it tick.  They'll pull it apart to find out what's inside.  Sometimes they can put it back together; sometimes they create something unintended.  This is hacker research.
  2. Toddlers are willing to try anything at least once to see what happens.  They poke insects, pull cat tails, and jump in puddles.  Usually they find they like these activities and continue to pursue them.  This is akin to hackers trying on cool new tech.
  3. Toddlers have a knack for ignoring authority (read Dad).  Enough said.
  4. Freedom is paramount.  Ever have to deal with a cooped up toddler on a rainy day?  Yeah, you know.
I'm sure, given more time with my son, I could find additional similarities to hackers.  Suffice it to day that I'm going to continue my research with a T-Rex driving a backhoe loader through the mud.