Friday, March 13, 2009

Clash of the Kids [Updated]

Well Linden Lab have done it again. They have announced something that effects their residents again. And once again the entire grid community seems to be up in arms. Though at first i was not sure how their new policy on adult content was going to effect me.

The Child Avatar Community is a special magical thing that has never happend anywhere before. SL is the cradle of life for a community of people around the world that live second childhoods, no other platform can claim that.

We all have invested so much time, money and emotion into our new gangs of friends and adventures. So far i think we have felt safe knowing that everyone around us, even if we pretend to be kids are in fact adults. The Child Avatar community spearheaded a clean non-adult environment to play and it seems Linden Lab are wanting more of the main grid to follow this.

But will this mean we will eventually loose that secure blanket that keeps Child avatars seperate from REAL kids? We have worked hard to make this world within SL and it's easy to feel backstabbed if LL decide to drop the 'Adults only' rule of being in SL. It would drop us all in a moral dilemma that we did not want, 'is it ok for underage residents to mix with Adults who pretend to be kids'?

This is the question that has to be asked even if LL decide to push it aside. Why has LL decided to seperate Adult content from the rest of the grid if not to prevent the possibility that underage residents might make unverified accounts?
We already have options for Adult Residents to avoid adult content, for example the Huds that tell you wether the place you are is Rated R.

Even if Linden Labs reasons for moving Adult content has nothing to do cleaning up the main grid for underagers, we still need to start thinking about the future and how the interaction between underagers and Kid Avatars could and should be.

Some argue that it should not matter if the people you interact with are adult or underagers, as you treat all people the way you would want to be treated. That the Kid Avatar is by nature a caring, imaginative and inspiring individual and who better to draw experience from.

Who would parents prefer an underager to be shown around the main grid? A Child Avatar resident, or a scantly clad Stripper?

There is a view that underagers would prefer to go hang out with the strippers than play with virtual kids, but that cant always be true. A lot of the stuff that we build for our own virtual second childhoods are based on the same kool things that real underagers find kool so it's not impossible that underagers might be drawn to the fun and games we also enjoy as Kid avatars.

There are some that feel no matter how safe we try and make things in our community, that there will always be the chance that being a child avatar will be exploited for deceiveful means. This though can be applied to any type of avatar community in SL, and any type of chat program infact.

The debate about Child Avatars, Adult Content and Underagers on the Main grid will go on for ever. As a community we need to be recognised for our deeds so carry on being the kool kids of SL.

[UPDATE] ABC news ran a sensationalised story about a wii game and concerns about adults and children playing same games. Read an article about it here

2 comments:

Tepic said...

hmmmmm.... i've been reading LLs proposals for defined community standards, and moving "Adult" material into a ghetto. So far, i'm not sure it affects us too much, though this may change by the end of the process. What is "Adult" content is going to be very difficult to define. Already, a Linden has stated that nudity per se is not "Adult" - does this mean we can go around au natural, as we did some years ago? Also, what goes on in our homes is stated by a Linden as being outside the remit - haven't asked if that applies to my sl home yet - no walls!

Think it's wise to keep a close eye on discussions, see what develops.

As to the inclusion of under 18s, think this is a way off yet, but will come. Still not sure if the teen griders would actually want to hang around with us, but if they do, i would guess they will be treated with the same respect and enthusiasm any other resident who comes across us is!

Curious Hazelnut said...

I could be totally wrong on this one. But The kids in SL that I hang out with want to be kids. We play soccer, run around, and play games. If RL kids with kid avatars want to play with us too, I think that would be great.

What I don't understand is why the Lab is talking about more age verification and then mentioning the two ways they already do it? Don't they know their own product?