Well, you know, I`d never thought of that.....
The boys each had machines (had they wanted it, they could have had half a dozen each, the entire network is dumpster derived). I encourage tinkering. I still don`t want to have to re-install the pc every time somebody else fubes it.Mainly because I deal with this sh1t all day at work (not my kids problem, I know, but still a practical issue). Now we have the option of bootable usb sticks and VMs, but that wasn`t an option when my kids were young (get off my lawn etc)
What tool doesn`t back up their data? There`s still the practical problem of "AARRRhhhggggg, again?" type of frustration.
When you went to school, college, uni, did some body just give you a pc, the complete works of Shakespeare or samples of every rock type on earth and tell you to get on with it? No, because that`s the slowest, hardest, least productive way of doing it. Sit with an interested child as you would with a student (as I said before, you`ll know if they`re interested) and teach, show and demonstrate. It`s not formal education, so let the kid lead in any direction interesting to them.Yes they have to investigate the machines on their own, and they`ll make mistakes (good!) but build up to it. A hard crash and a system restore is unlikely to encourage experimentation. Having bite size pieces explained and opened up as curiosity leads IS much more conducive to experimentation.
`course all this means that you have to like computers and kids :)