Second Life Ethics

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Ethical issues we need to consider include:

  • Second life addiction - It seems that "playing" in Second life can be addictive in a similar way to playing Playstation or Xbox games. Should we consider the effect of introducing this addiction might have on children?

Joystick Junkies by Sarah Johnson (06/01/2007) discusses the issue of video-game addiction with contributions from Keith Bakker, director of Amsterdam-based Smith and Jones addiction consultants, and Daniel Huebner, director of Community Affairs for Second Life at Linden Lab in San Francisco. Positive and negative aspects of video games (with several specific references to Second Life) are included in the discussion.

  • Psychological impact - Three of the PhD students who started playing in 2nd life reported sleep disturbance/nightmares after their first foray. Should we investigate this when we encourage children to participate in the teen island? Is this a long-term problem or just a "one off". Do we need to produce guidelines such as limiting the length of time online or playing early in the day, or collaboratively with someone else in the room? How so we establish what the guildelines should be?
I'm not too worried that I get weird sleep patterns after late night sessions on SL, I get this in computer games as well or any other high stimuli late at night (e.g. party, movies, etc). I understand this valid concern though, maybe it needs to be flagged up. --Mgaved 11:57, 2 December 2006 (GMT)
  • Ensuring a safe teen environment - Teen Life is supposed to be restricted to 13 to 18-year olds. Are there any checks and balances in place to ensure that adults do not simply sign up pretending to be kids? Should we place a mechanism in place to ensure that Schome Park is restricted to teens? Could we?
At least initially Schome Park will be 'closed' - meaning that only folk we invite there will be able to access it. Our longer term aim is to open it up to the wider Teen Grid community, but we want to move gradually towards this so that we can be sure that the teens we are responsible for are 'safe'. In terms of adults on Schome Park - all of the adults that we invite will have CRB checks in place (this is a requirement of both Linden Labs and the schome team). PeterT 07:42, 29 November 2006 (GMT)
  • Carrying out research within Second Life - The Association of Internet Researchers has developed proposals for people undertaking research online: Ess, C. (2002) Ethical decision-making and Internet research: recommendations from the AoIR ethics working committee. [1]
  • Linden Labs ethical approach - Linden Labs have a page in their knowledge base in which they discuss their approach to the ethical issues surrounding research using their 2nd life. [2]
  • Green or not? - A piece asking about the carbon footprint of each av. [3]
  • Appropriate content - Adult second life permits activities that could occur in real life (i.e. avatar sex). Teen second life permits the same range of activities. To what extent should we/can we monitor what goes on?
  • Homelessness - Homeless avatars. The story of the avatar who sleeps out in the street in a cardboard box - raising awareness of homelessness. Which reminds me, that when I went into a SecondLife store the other day, it had a list up of banned behaviours such as nudity or carrying weapons. It included begging.
  • Virtual sweatshops - See this report on the sweatshop workers who work long hours, are paid next to nothing and generate huge amounts of real-world money for their bosses by working in the big virtual reality games such as World of Warcraft.
  • Fighting fascism - Detailed report, with pictures, on the angry and large-scale demonstrations against the headquarters of the French National Front in SecondLife. Despite the apparent futility of attacking a virtual building with holograms of Thomas the Tank Engine or with exploding pink pigs, the resultant lag appears to have resulted in the destruction of the fascist headquarters.

However, fascists continue to be a problem in SecondLife, recently going on the attack against the SL Muslim community and their mosque