Just when you thought the government couldn’t get more creepy and up in your biznezz, the New York Times recently covered the NSA website aimed at kids. The site comes complete with an army fatigue sporting bald eagle, an oh-so-cool turtle wearing a backwards baseball hat (just like you!), and the “cyber twins,” who look like they just came from the world’s saddest rave. Oh, and according to the NSA, coding is “KEWL.”
Now, government agency sites aimed at kids is nothing new. The CIA has one, and so does the FBI, among others. But none of them are nearly as lame as the NSA’s abomination of a site. Kids in 1992 would have thought these graphics were terrible. My 1999 AOL profile was more high tech.
I don’t know who’s job it was to write the copy for this site, but they should be fired immediately and never allowed to work with kids, for fear of boring them to death. Seriously, the sections include “Operation Dit-Dah,” “Meet The Gang,” and “Make Your Own Secret Codes.” This NSA kids site is as cool as Carlton from The Fresh Prince.
The most hilariously out of touch part of the site is “the gang’s” bio pages. They do make an attempt to show how diverse today’s government agencies are, but fail miserably.T.Top the turtle (yes, that is REALLY his name) is has an 8-year-old sister who annoys him (just like real people!), Crypto Cat speaks Navajo after growing up NEAR a reservation (he can’t be an actual Native American, obv.). Almost all of them come from military families, though they do throw a few regular occupations in, because “See? Even you NORMIES can join up!”
In all seriousness, while some of the site does contain semi-valuable information, such as never going to untrusted sites, and guarding your passwords, the rest of it is woefully outdated and ridiculous. My husband is a highly skilled (and handsome, if I do say so myself) senior systems engineer and when I showed the site to him, he just laughed, and laughed and laughed. THIS is what they’re using to find the best and brightest for the next generation? I am definitely not impressed.