I had discovered Second Life a few years back when one of my communication professors brought it up as an example of a futuristic media tool. He described it as an online network of virtual avatars living in an Earth-like landscape with a real economy and everything. He never described all of the dark and disturbing parts of this so-called ‘virtual paradise.’ So I decided to create an account and try it myself once I got home. Boy, was I in for a big surprise. I logged in and everything seemed normal – other than the fact that I was given the choice between a safe, rated PG portal or a sex-ridden, adult content portal. I made the choice to stay in the clean part of the game, thinking that there would be nothing to avert my eyes from. My little 10-year-old brother is only a few feet away from my laptop screen since I use it in the family room every night. I did not want him to see any sexual content on my laptop screen, nor did I want my parents to either.
(image from http://www.revistaaqua.com/)
The scary thing is that every single part of Second Life has obscene acts and sexuality run rampant, from gay orgy parties to zero gravity sex beds. Seriously, this game should come with a warning label! Most of what I have seen on SL would make any parent, rating board member, and FCC chairperson almost want to faint. SL seems to have no one in charge of it deciding what content should be hidden or even banned entirely. Sure, the gay and furry community has the same freedom of expression and content creation that you or I do, but some of it should be more private than it is now. People have sex behind closed doors in the privacy of their own homes in real life, so why doesn’t the same rule apply on SL?
(image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/)
When this class is over I will be deleting my Second Life account immediately. I do like the building and communication tools in SL, but everything else is a filthy thing created by extravagant, uncontrolled sexual thoughts and urges. We are all adults here, I know, but that also means we have to be mature and be careful what content we set out into the wide open world of the Internet. One day our children and grandchildren will come across some obscene piece of content that originated on Second Life. That is something that I, and many of my peers in class, would like to prevent from happening, at all costs.