This seems to be the next big thing currently going on on the forums, since this little sentence dropped by Philip Linden at the last Town Meeting. And from what was seen so far on said discussion boards, it appears that this (let’s call it opinion) is widely-enough spread currently.
I’m not exactly sure of what to think of it myself, but what I know at least is that this rings an alarm bell already. Even though I’ve never really paid attention to this fact, it’s true that so far, I haven’t had any “kewl d00dz” encounters in Second Life – contrary to most other online evnvironments I’ve been in (allright, except A Tale In The Desert, but I’ve only played it for one day). Does that mean that all people in Second Life are completely mature and that there aren’t any morons? Nope, you don’t need to be under 18 to b e an immature moron, this is one of the numerous things that life. Now… indeed, there must be minors walking in at times, maybe simply because their parents allowed them to do so, maybe because they sneaked on Mommy’s Visa… who knows. Yet at least, for the moment, Linden Labs have what I can call their asses covered by this simple fact: Second Life is a 18+ game only, and is openly declared as such.
So why the alarm bell in my little mind… Is it because I’m not fond of children in general? Is it because I’m afraid of seeing “mature” content removed from SL to protect said kids when they end up openly being here (after all, it’s not our decision, but LL’s)? Is it because I’m afraid that they might do better than I regarding creativity and building (yes.. this was given as an argument on the main forums, and I think I won’t even comment on that)? Because I’l ltehn fell forced to watch every of my steps in fear of accidentally using some “bad” words? Or perhaps is it that the idea of a second grid, reserved the younger minds, doesn’t appeal me?
Actually, I don’t think it is. What’s worrying me in all of this is the legal turn that things may take.
I’m not worried about having to deal with a 12-years old crafting giant penises on my land. But I’m worried about the holier-than-thou parent who’ll jump in his/her high horses at the slightest sign of something that may threaten their dear child. And in all honesty, how many people “under 18” do use “bad language” or hint at sexual acts? Why would a 17-years old person be “safer” to be around than a 18-19 one? I wasn’t in SL at that time yet, but I do remember, not that many months ago, this person who complained on the boards that when his friend was visiting at home and left his young daughter on the comp, the child saw the SL forums and caught sight of “bad” words on them. He said that it was LL’s fault, and demanded reparation. But, as I said, LL had their asses covered. “It’s parents’ responsibility to check on their children and monitor their activity.” How many parents, unfortunately, do actually dislike hearing this, and don’t take responsibility?
I’m worried about the one deranged mind who’ll sneak into a possible kids-only grid, and cause problems there. I’m worried about the stupid teenagers who’ll brag about sex and try to show their stupid self-thought “superiority” to some younger ones, without their parents checking what they’re doing. I’m worried about the parents who’ll be shocked, and about those who’ll be so conveniently shocked in another way, and try to get cash out of it because, well, they can! When there are children at stake, the ones who stand “against” these poor innocent souls most often won’t be given any favorable a-priori. And most of all, I’m worried about the one time it’ll be needed for a parent to jump on something, take it to the media and/or to court, and drag LL and SL in the mud. One time will be enough… for a small company, it can mean the end, or at least a serious get-down-the-train trip.
Unavoidable, that children make their way to SL officially in the end? Maybe… perhaps even likely. But when this happens, I seriously do hope that Linden labs will do whatever they can to ensure the total coverage of their bottoms. Because I and many others would sure as hell hate to see them in trouble because of one screw-up involving “children”.
What’s sad in all of this is that, in the end, the ones I don’t have any trust nor faith in aren’t the children. It’s the parents who’ll prefer blame LL rather than their own lack of care (or their kids’ behavior), if a problem is to occur.