Open source parenting

If you’re a parent, particularly of boys, you need to stop what you’re doing and read the Tribune’s special report on Magnetix. It’s breath-taking, and not in a good way.

I’ve stolen a few hours this evening brainstorming how the tech community might bring its resources to bear on this particular challenge. It’s already proving to be an interesting experiment: if the government is under-staffed and under-funded to help parents avoid harmful toys, then why can’t we help ourselves? I mean, come on: this is how the CPSC chooses to tell us about potential risks. Anyone think that’s a particularly useful/effective way of getting the word out?

I’m thinking equal parts Digg, Snopes and a wiki thrown in for good measure. Give thousands of parents the tools to easily identify harmful products, leverage the community’s ability to provide visibility to legitimate threats while minimizing less serious risks, and quickly disseminate information that could be instrumental in avoiding a serious accident.

This is a non-partisan thing, but if successful would have ramifications in the political realm. Most importantly, it might very well save a few kids. So… if you’re interested in participating in this experiment, drop me a line. Right now I’m particularly interested in folks who can assist in thinking through the architecture of such a thing… then we can start reaching out to those who can lend particular talents and/or resources to build it. Evangelizing the end product will be easy; we all know a few people who’d love to help spread the word if successful.