Chapter 5: Multi-User Dungeons and Alternate Identities
Because I am so unfamiliar with the virtual worlds and the interactions that take place in such worlds like Second Life, I found this article to be particularly informative and helped me gain a better understanding behind people's motvations for participating in such programs. I too must admit that I have always been a skeptic to the participation of virtual worlds, as I am a believer that actual interaction is, for lack of a better word, normal. After reading this article though, I began to understand the arguement that participation in Second Life can actually be seen as a person's way of actively seeking to be social and actually form relationships with others, which they aren't able to do in real life for various reasons, so in reality they are just as social as those who choose to communicate with others through the more accepted mediums such as phone, internet, or face to face communicaiton. In another sense though, I must say that I think that it is an important to examine those who have become so attached to their virtual worlds that they partcipate for up to 8 hours a day. It is problematic that people can get so caught up in these relationship that are forged virtually, and it is important for them to realize that such an addiction is not healthy. Also, I was particularly disturbed by the issues surrounding sexual activity in these virtual worlds, especially because we can never truly know who we are actually communicating with and their actual motives for forming a relationship.
Rape in Cyberspace
I too was very confused from the beginning about what actually took place in the described voodoo doll raping, it could be just because I am very unfamiliar with these virtual worlds so I don't completely understand how this actually occured. With that said though, I do think that this article addressed some important issues pertaining to the problem of sexual assault in these virtual worlds. Looking at this issue, I can see both sides to the arguement because I understand that the virtual world is not the same as the real world, so does it have the same laws that govern it and be upheld by the same consequences for illegal behavior or is it a place that is separate by the norms and laws of the real world? While it can be argued that because of the animosity the virtual world provides, people do take on differenet personas, it can also be argued that these personas are actually reflections of their true personalities. With these different arguments though, I do find it difficult to come to a decision of whether or not the same rules apply to one another in in real life and in second life...