Saturday, November 17, 2007

SL Ageplay: The Harsh Reality

After that scandal back in May where a couple were role-playing "Sexual Conduct" between an adult avatar and a child avatar, Linden Labs has since then been scrambling to cover their own asses with a plethora of policy changes. Perhaps we should break down the reactions to this whole mess.

Not very long after those two sickos were banned from SL, the Lindens decided to incorporate ID verification for accounts and then requiring that certain Sims to add a flag for restricted content. Alright, most kids who have more than two brain cells to rub together can get around that BS by using Mommy & Daddy's credit card and DL information. Oh and remember the age verification thing is 'voluntary' for residents and estate owners, but who the hell is gonna admit "Yep, I'm a 13 year old pimple-faced nerd who enjoys the hawt donkey porn stashed on my Dad's computer."

Soon after that, news came from some hoity toity French parents who were not happy with SL's Adult Content. Oh Noes!!! There’s adult content on the internet?!?! *GASP* Luckily the French Courts tossed the whole issue out because in reality parents need to be parents, above all else.

The truth is that sex sells. That primal instinct buried in our DNA is never gonna change. In Second Life, this is justified with the fact that the 10 most popular places on the Search Lists at any given time are all Mature Sims with some sort of “Sexual Content”.

BUT… lets get back to the thing that started this whole clusterfuck… the fact that some people think pedophilia is stimulating. The frightening thing is… there are more people surfacing with this derangement every moment of every day. It’s gotten so prevalent that websites have been created to show registered sexual offenders that live in your immediate vicinity. Yeah there's nothing like discovering that the guy who has lived 2 doors down from you for the past 7 years likes 5 year old boys.

I don't care who ya are… seeing a child as a sexual object is downright nauseating. Destroying the innocence of such a fragile being is probably the worst thing that anyone could ever do, and just because you switch from doing it for real to doing it in a virtual world doesn’t make it any less wrong. In fact, it becomes even worse since the person who’s running a child-like avatar also enjoys this repulsive lifestyle.

If Linden Labs would get their shit together, they would not only crack down on the act itself, but also keep it from ever occurring by banning the use of child avatars. Yeah, I know… supposedly it lets a person play out a childhood that they missed the first time around. Others simply think the concept is just darn cute. In truth, though, the whole concept is as creepy as that episode of CSI where they showed the folks who dress up like babies.

Do us all a favor. Take your little pigtailed jailbait over to some other virtual world so you won’t keep fucking it up for the rest of us.


Patricia said...

AMEN! I agree with you 100%. It always creeps me out when I'm out shopping and run into child avatars. I can't explain it. They just make my skin crawl. The thoughts of an adult wanting to pretend to be a child..I'm sorry, there is something wrong there.

Ann Launay said...

Wow, I was with you until those last few paragraphs. The vast majority of people running child avs are far more horrified by the idea of sexualizing said avatars than you or I could ever be. From what I understand, a decent percentage of them actually were victimized in some way as children and they're using SL as a way to work through that, relive childhood as it ought to have been.

But even if that isn't the case, what ever happened to 'Your World, Your Imagination'? My av is Neko and I'm actually uncomfortable running her as fully human...for me, SL=Neko Ann. For them, it equals child av, mostly for all sorts of non-tawdry reasons, despite what you seem to think.

It's been my experience that the people making the assumptions and accusations are usually the nasty-minded ones, not the child avs who are just trying to enjoy their Second Lives. There are a few bad eggs, sure, but damning a whole group based on the actions of a few is completely unwarranted and ridiculous.

Candy Lemmon said...

I have to agree with Ann.

People can be purple aliens and various stages of human-animal mutation (neko, furry, tiny bunny avatars), but you can't be a kid?

The updated motto is:

"Your World, Our Limitations."

Lynda said...

This would have a lot more impact if the picture of your avatar looked older than 13.

You were making a lot of sense until you decided that the prescription for one group is to eliminate everyone who bears any traits in common with that group according to you.

By my standards your av looks childlike too. Do I get to decide whether or not your avatar is age appropriate? And if not, why is your cut off point more valid than mine?

Anonymous said...

@ann: I understand that many are there to play out a childhood they missed out on before. I am also aware of those who made their avatars into other shapes such as Nekos, Furries, Werewolves, and whatever else they may think of. The thing is that Linden Labs isn't being sued for those types of Avatars. Unfortunately as like with Real Life, bad eggs always ruin things for the rest of the group.

@lynda: You speak of my judgments for a whole group over one publicized incident, and yet you make judgments about my avatar based on one photo?

Lynda said...

That's my point. If 'little pigtailed jailbait' has to get swept up in a ban even if they have nothing at all to do with sexualized age play, it would absolutely include the avatar depicted in that photo.

Doesn't matter if you have no relation at all to age players - a wide ban on all that share the appearance preferences of the underaged would get swept up. You're making the criteria about appearance rather than behavior. So what argument would you make for why your 13 year old looking avatar not being included in the same round up you're proposing for others? Is LL really supposed to interview every underaged looking avatar to see whether or not they intend to portray someone underaged?

By the way, I'm not making any judgment of you at all - I'm judging that picture and applying your opinion of what should be done about others who appear as underaged avatars to it. I disagree with your chosen antidote to the problem precisely because it would widely sweep away many people who have nothing to do with pedophilia in any sense, like you. And like those who engage in age play for non-sexual purposes.

Clearly unless you really are 13, you understand some of the appeal of having an avatar that is more youthful than its real life typist.

Locke Flanagan said...

Hrm. I think at the very lest 'tinys' should be not allowed into 'mature' rated sims.

Players should have the intelligence and responsibility not to take the precious little ones into strip clubs or places that may contain nudity or sexualized content. After all, even if your intention is to toddle around and say "hullo mister, have you seen my momma", you are still putting the sim owner at risk... as you are exposing an obviously under aged avatar to sexualized content.

And the BTW, "it is my opinion you look 13..." is weak (and frankly lame), when Guen is clearly talking about avatars on the grid who's 'about' section that explicitly state they are playing a damned 8 year old. Sheesh

Wyatt Clyburn said...

This is a very interesting issue IMO. I do believe that there are people inworld who are "re-living" their childhood to work through issues, etc. However, I think those people should seek other avenues for therapy.... And the following is why:

In the 1980's, child pornography was almost non-existent in the USA. The Internet brought it back big, and also created a forum for pedophiles to not only trade their stuff, but also to share fantasies and validate one another. What I mean by validation is that they minimize each other's perceived perversion - "hey, I'm not the only one that feels like this."

SL, as we all know, provides a rich and stimulating experience. One might argue that ageplay or even downright depiction of child molestation in such a virtual realm would be a good thing, believing that as long as pedos get their rocks off inworld, they are less likely to act out IRL. In fact, just the opposite is true. Engaging in such an "almost real" environment only heightens and drives a pedos need to do the real thing. Bottom line - more kids get victimized, not just cartoons.

So, from a moral standpoint, let's all try to minimize the availability of such forums for those who seek to harm kids. Even if it means that the "legitimate" players have to go somewhere else to work through their issues. This has nothing to do with taking away freedoms, and everything to do with protecting our society.

Rick said...

Well, I had to ponder things for a while, especially in light of all that's been said. I agree that ageplay can be therapeutic, but there are other virtual worlds available, with tighter content restrictions. I really don't think SL is the place for children, real or pretend.

I get freaked out when I see kid-avs, especially on a mature sim. It's just wrong. And never mind the sexually explicit areas of SL. I really don't understand what would drive anyone to want to have a sexually explicit interaction with a kid-av involved. Period.

Furries & Nekos are a different matter entirely, Ann. They don't exist in RL (to the extent they do in SL) and in any case they are clearly adults. RP between adults, playing adults, whatever the costume is always acceptable. But since the actual sexual molestation of children is such a heinous crime, there is no room in a civilized society for those who like to pretend they are victimizing a child. An adult av dressed in children's clothing is one thing, but a kid-av, with a juvenile profile, is unacceptable in a sexual situation.

Candy Lemmon said...

Rick --

Bestiality is ALSO a heinous crime, and by your definitions it could easily be argued that there is no room in civilized society for animal avatars to be involved in sexual situations.

But they are, and no-one seems to consider that to be comparable. Now, my point is NOT that child-sex is okay - but that picking and choosing what "perversions" are truly "perverse" Second Lifers are missing the point.

Freedom is for all or for none, and that shouldn't be altered because one person's freedom is more offensive to you than another's.

dandellion said...

I don't see why somebody would have anything sexual with a kid. And yes, I find it gross and consider it a crime if it happens iRL. But, who am I to judge somebody's second life, somebody's fantasies? And who are you to judge somebody's fantasies?

Once you declare one type of fantasies is bad and not allowed, you have opened the space for forbidding all the other. Why somebody cannot say that nekos and furrys are involved in bestiality and that BDSM is not ok because it is violent and humiliating? Why not close all Gorrean sims because they promote slavery? And sure, let's close all dystopian places, they are promoting dark future, nuclear wars and have pessimistic view on the future, that is not good.

And, before all of that, why not follow Wyatt's logic: "Engaging in such an 'almost real' environment only heightens and drives a pedos need to do the real thing" and close all combat and shooting sims? For grid's sake, they are killing each other there, they will start shooting on RL streets!

And, in the end, we should close the grid. Because, having an avatar *IS* considered a very bad behaviour by some people. Why you all don't go living your lives instead of playing around with cartoons imagining they are living?

Orchid said...

I really wasn't sure what exactly I'd say on this topic - so I had to mull it over a while.

As with anything in SL - one's imagination or their own opinion seems to play a huge role in how things are perceived.

Kid avatars - at times its comical. For me .. I see it in the same light as I see an avatar of Insert Any Anime Title Here. I could run around looking like a character from Cool Devices (so what I watched a lot of Hentai in my late teens!) and no one would think anything of it until they did some research and found an episode where a first year uni student was given ecstasy blah blah orgy.

Now does that one episode have anything to do with me? Most likely not - but does that change the mind of the person who went to such lengths to expose how immorally wicked I am? Probably not. But does that all mean that I should be discriminated against just because of someone else's perception of me?

That's what I think a lot of the child avatar thing boils down to.

Even though I don't understand RPing childhood, I'm not going to call it wrong. The fact of the matter lies in not the child avatars themselves -- but the result of what a small percentage of people who have been child avatars have done. Because a small number of people decided that creating a place to have some sort of sexual encounter with a child avatar .. now the entire 'kid' thing has gotten a bad wrap.

What I find most interesting about this whole thing is the media coverage from European countries. I mean let's face it -- if you look hard enough for something you are GOING to find it! So some German network wanted to do some of their own research and found this sex place for kid avs.

If folks in SL are going to take such a stance on the child av ban type thing ... I think that the "Barely Legal" type porn should have just as many restrictions. Even though there is some kind of proof that the girls are all 'of age' to pose for those mags or be in those flicks -- its the fact that they are portraying a younger version of themselves.

For that matter - if such a stance is taken -- all avs that aren't clearly ohh 30 should be modified. No more tits to your chin, girls! Oh and stop buying those little tiny skirts, low cut blouses, or anything that your teenage kid would wear. Why? Because someone might look at their screen and see you as that blonde haired blue eyed 12 year old that's a little more mature than she should be and be wankin' -- and its all YOUR FAULT!!11oneone Please.

Prim babies freak me out more than kid avatars because at least one avatar is interacting with another avatar. Two avatars being controlled by human beings that can converse and animate each other -- whereas prim babies (to me) are the equivalent of walking around with a bottle of Vodka and calling it your kid. An inanimate object with no personality and toting it around? At least vodka can keep you warm in cold weather!

Wyatt Clyburn said...

Dandellion said:

"And, before all of that, why not follow Wyatt's logic: "Engaging in such an 'almost real' environment only heightens and drives a pedos need to do the real thing" and close all combat and shooting sims? For grid's sake, they are killing each other there, they will start shooting on RL streets!"

That is not following my logic at all, dandellion. I'm not talking about anything other than pedos. There is scientific, yes SCIENTIFIC, data that supports my assertion. Your comparison of this to violent or combat sims is way off base. Pedos have something in their brain wiring that compels them to act out iRL at some point, and forums such as SL only act as a catalyst. The same cannot be said, scientifically, of other behavior...

Candy Lemmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Candy Lemmon said...

There is NO scientific data to support the idea that ageplay sex in second life inevitably leads to pedophilic behavior in the real world. Absolute drivel and nonsense.

Dandellion's analogy was apt.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that Guen! I agree with you 1000%!!!!!! Anyone who thinks that even acting out pedophilia is somehow therapeutic needs to have their own head examined. That makes as much sense as a pedophile saying that if I just do one, it will be alright and I'll be all better. It only escalates things.

Wyatt Clyburn said...

Candy, you should read more closely! I am NOT talking about the average person here! I'm talking about people who ARE ALREADY PEDOPHILES! And, yes, there is absolute scientific evidence that supports the notion that such stimuli drives pedophiles... It doesn't MAKE people pedophiles. University of New Hampshire has done a ton of work in this field... Check your facts, and read more closely. Or maybe I should articulate better.

Candy Lemmon said...


I honestly stopped reading your first comment when I came to this sentence:

"In the 1980's, child pornography was almost non-existent in the USA."

That statement is incredibly naive, obviously untrue, and I came to the conclusion that the rest of your post was likewise ill-informed.

Now that I've read the rest of it, my suspicions are pretty much confirmed. Unless you want to link us to this "data" that proves two consenting adults acting out a fantasy in secondlife causes one or the other to force sexual acts on a non-child.

Candy Lemmon said...

non-ADULT, rather.

Wyatt Clyburn said...

Check it all you want Candy,

And yes, talk to any Postal Inspector or FBI agent and they will say the same thing about the trading of child porn in the 80s...

I'm not trying to pick a fight here. My statements are not made up, they are based on fact and not meant as inflammatory. With that said, you can continue to be close minded on the idea that there are certain stimuli which drive pedos, or take a look for yourself with the link I'm giving you and research it...

Candy Lemmon said...

The link that you sent me has nothing to do with two adults in secondlife, and everything to do with the abuse of minors.

The TRADING of child porn is a very different thing than the EXISTENCE of it, which is what you initially claimed, and remains false. I have no doubt that the FBI didn't have as many cases or evidence of it - for which there are any number of explanations - just like I have no doubt that the internet increased the trading of child pornography.

Ageplay is NOT the trading of illegal material, and NEVER involves a minor - it is instead two avatars being driven by ADULT humans, engaging in roleplay that is offensive to some, and being singled out because of it.

Why not bestiality, or Gorean lifestyles, or rape sims, or even homosexuality (which is ridiculously still technically illegal in some states!)?

Why? Because those things don't bother people as much.

And that's the long and short of it.

dandellion said...

Why not bestiality, or Gorean lifestyles, or rape sims, or even homosexuality (which is ridiculously still technically illegal in some states!)?

Why? Because those things don't bother people as much.

No, but because it is easier to attack. Yes, child abuse is something that will be jusdged by the most libertanian among us. And once you start, it will be easier to attack all the others. But, there is no child abuse if two consentig adults are playing computer graphics and talking nasty words.

At the same time, this post is going by logic "yes put them all in the box, just to leave the whole playground to me". But... one day, they will come to you too.

Melissa said...

Perhaps not relevant to SL, bust I feel the need to comment on this: "It’s gotten so prevalent that websites have been created to show registered sexual offenders that live in your immediate vicinity."

Thing is, those lists don't say *why* someone is on them. At least in Ohio, you can get on a registered sex offender list for something as innocuous as public urination (see drunken frat boy) or being 18 and sleeping with your 17 year old boy/girlfriend.

Saying that these problems are becoming more widespread ignores the fact that more things like the above are being counted as sex crimes, and being prosecuted where they weren't in the past, thus elevating the statistics. While I would never say that child abuse doesn't happen, reactionary media - including blog posts like this one - blow the issue out of proportion and are inciting a witch hunt that is reminiscent of McArthy-ism.

dandellion said...

It is very questionable if that practice is legal. It sounds more like dark ages than present day society.
And yes, overblowing and stating the cases you mentioned as sexual offense is doing nothing good. It just makes things relative, and more and more irrelevant.

Nimil said...

i play a child avatar at times when i feel like letting my kid side out. it gives me a chance to shed some of the adult resposibilities and go play in a playground or something kiddyfied. also i look adorable as a kid...

i've never once engaged in any behavour involving sex or pedofilia and i will usually try to stay out of a mature sim if i can avoid it (however sometimes it is impossible when child-related stores are sometimes on mature sims) i don't understand why it would bother someone so badly to see a kid on the grid. it's just roleplay, just like when someone dresses as a neko or a furry or something else. it's a non sexual roleplay so i don't see what the big deal is. the people who need to be stopped are the ones who are sexualizing it into something more. you might as well ban all other forms of roleplay as well if you feel like that.

while on the subject of this i am curious. is it just the visual representation of a child that bothers you? would you be able to stand to be around my doll face rp character who has the body of a child but is actually a demon posessed doll who is about 7000 years old mentally? or how about my lab rat character who looks like an 18 year old human/rat hybrid but has the mind of a small child due to being locked away in a lab most of her life? i guess these are sick too?

and hey in the end. to be honest, the people who are actually kids on this game who aren't supposed to be on the main grid, are dressing as ADULTS not kids... i actually came across one. they were actually 13 years old! but they were dressing like an adult, and trying to act like one as well. but she admitted it to me in ims that she was 13 and thought this place was "so cool" it took me two seconds to AR her ass. real kids i am not tolerant of. they don't need to be here. adults doing as they wish because they are ADULTS should be allowed to have free reign. if you don't like it, you can always tp away, or ignore them.