Saturday, October 15, 2016

Are You Ever Afraid in Second Life?


An unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger : a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful.

Definition of “afraid” from Merriam-Webster  


What is fear? 

(Significant Other already doesn’t like where this one is going.)

OK, we’ve all been afraid at one time or another.

In Real Life (RL), we experience nightmares, (No, I’m not Significant Other’s!) we go to horror films, or we go to staff meetings where we work.  (Sorry, hope I didn’t freak anyone
out with that last one.)

But, what about Second Life (SL)?

Have you ever been afraid inworld?

Let’s talk about that!

I believe that there are two types of fear in SL.

The first type is the good type, it’s fun and innocent.

(Significant Other would like to remind everyone who is making this statement.)

We go to scary places during Halloween.   

Or, there was the time a “good” friend locked in a fun house inworld with a bunch of homicidal clowns.  (Significant Other almost made me stop going inworld after that one.)

Or, any number of experiences and places that are created for us to scare ourselves.  We know it’s not real.  We place ourselves there voluntarily and can walk away whenever we want.

Then there’s the other type, the bad.

The bad is when others go about harming others and the victims are become fearful. 

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about bullying, sexism, homophobia, and harassment.

The victims of these behaviors become afraid.

They either don’t return to SL or they modify their behaviors to avoid the fear and have a less than enjoyable experience inworld accordingly. 

Let’s talk about that last point for a moment.

Whenever good, decent residents who could add to the community in any number of ways curtail their participation because they’re fearful then we all lose.

Who knows what the implications are for these victims?

Many are already fearful in RL.  SL behaviors can have an adverse effect on their RL situations. 

All this contributes to a coarsening of our culture in both SL and and RL.

(Lord knows, the recent US Presidential campaign has shown us just how coarse things can get.)

Why do people do this to other people?

Alright, I know, if I could answer this question then I won’t need my day job.

I’m going to take a stab anyway.

The anonymity we all enjoy inworld gives some a feeling of empowerment that they can get away with things inworld that they would never do in RL. 

There’s the objectification of victims.  (SL really seems to let this one run wild.)

But, what do we do about this?

We can’t just stand by and watch helplessly.

We have to call out this behavior and let people know it’s wrong. 

We have to support its victims, befriend them, and bring them into our groups.

Both SL and RL are at a crossroads now, let’s not lose this chance to show some decency somewhere, even if it’s only virtual!

(Significant Other likes how this one turned out, was afraid I was going to do something stupid.)

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk
with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!


May O. Mingzi said...

On my sim, if someone were bullying, harassing or demeaning another, probably everyone within hearing distance would jump on that bully/harasser. (There is a lot of teasing among friends, of course, and we do watch to see that's not what's actually going on. HINT: If someone is getting upset, it's not friendly teasing anymore.) I have seen one of my venue owners demand that someone give a public apology to another person or be ejected and banned. We are a very diverse community, with members comfortable being open about being LGBT, Gorean, furry or whatever. How you look isn't important; it's the kind of person you are inside that counts.

Caroline Resident said...

I came across something similar once: