Obsessing Over Second Life

On secondlife.com a tab concentrates on the community of this virtual world. Here, there are forums, blogs, answers to questions, and events. I started reading up on some of the blogs, which were posted by both the creators of Second Life and people who play. I quickly came to realize that people are obsessed over this game. The blog post I focused on was “Your Second Life Evolution,” which shows how people have adapted their avatars since first signing up for Second Life (http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/Your-Second-Life-Evolution/bc-p/1133263#M7175). Many people invest a great amount of time into their avatars and their virtual lives. In class we were introduced to an avid Second Life participant, Amy from True Life: I Have Another Life on the Web. After Googling this episode, I came across a website that spoke about her experience on Second Life (http://remotecontrol.mtv.com/2008/05/29/mtvs-true-life-takes-a-look-at-second-life/). Amy was completely involved in her virtual world. Ben Rosen, the producer of this True Life episode, explained that Second Life houses a lot of people obsessed with their “other lives” in this virtual world. He says “Second Life has given rise to an amazing number of interesting social structures, modes of behavior, cultures and fantasies” (Remotecontrol.mtv.com). With its own currency, job opportunities, and shopping options, Second Life allows for endless possibilities for avatars and endless opportunities for the people playing on Second Life. Rosen explains that, “so many people in SL are living out fantasies and dreams that are unattainable in their real lives” (Remotecontrol.mtv.com). People create any life that they want and vicariously live out these fantasies through their avatars.


Chat Roulette

My previous experiences with Chat Roulette have been using it as a joke while hanging out with friends. I have fun joking around about how crazy it is in this setting. However, doing it alone was somewhat scary. I believe that moral and technopanics surrounding technology have had a longstanding tradition in our society, and that most of them are bogus. However, I do believe that chat roulette  is a little frightening! While it most certainly does not deserve media coverage, public outcry, etc., it should require a little more decency. The fact that you can see nudity online, talk to strangers, and scroll through tons of people by yourself for free is out of control. I would be worried for my child if I knew they were participating in Chat Roulette because they would see things they shouldn’t, but I don’t think it would corrupt them to the point of craze.


Chatroulette

Having never visited the site before, I would say that Chatroulette lived up to all previous info I heard about it.  While home this weekend, I was helping my mom set up her new desktop, and decided to just spend my 5 minutes on the site then and there… that was a mistake.

With no gate or enforcer, the site is basically a “free for all”, and honestly quite scary.  After seeing vulgar images (mainly of men might I add) I decided to research the sites origins.  I found it was invented by a teen in Russia (perhaps this explains the perverted nature) and that the site actually has 3 settings options: one being under 18 and or no nudity shown, another being over 18 and ok with seeing nudity, and the last being over 18, ok with seeing nudity and perhaps being nude too.

I am not sure how the site regulates those options, but based on what I saw, which was the under 18 and no nudity setting (default setting), no one was following those rules.  I really hope that the inventors intentions were something other than what Chatroulette has become, but I honestly cant see how anyone could think this wouldnt happen.  Its sad that the world has come to this, and uses the internet and this site as an arena for perverted people to gather and act repulsively.  This fully embodies the idea of moral panic as discussed in lecture this week- this site is a parents worst nightmare!

Because the internet and this site in particular are free with no boundaries, parents need to enforce internet rules for their young children, and provide positive, healthy structures for when interacting with the internet.


Creeproulette

I have never done chatroulette before, and after tonight I doubt I every will again. My title is a bit misleading, for I actually didn’t come across any dicks thanks to the “no nudity” setting I switched to. I did meet a few pricks though. Most simply insulted my appearance, gave me the finger, or questioned my sexuality then clicked next. I got a few bizarre alien/pig/Lion King with Benny Hill music cams, along with ads for sexroullette. The two semi-decent conversations I had were awkward and felt pointless, and that’s generally what the entire experience was. Awkward and pointless. It may be possible to meet people of worth on this site, but the vast majority are just horny, lonly dudes being creepy. Not what I’d call a good time.

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Chatroulette

I decided to check out Chatroulette because I have never been on the site before and I was interested to see what it was all about. Here’s what I was expecting. Penises. Creepy men. Annnnd that’s pretty much it.

So I settled down on the couch with my roommate and roll of cookie dough and our journey began. I noticed first off how many men there were. I rarely saw a girl come up on the screen. We didn’t talk to anyone for the first few minutes and just immediately nexted for fear of seeing something that we didn’t want to see.

Finally though, our sugar high kicked in (from the cookie dough) and we decided to be brave and talk to people. Most people that we talked to were foreign, commonly from Venezuela, Brazil, and Italy. We played a few games of tic tac toe with people because you can use the mouse to write on the screen. Turns out people from Venezuela cheat at tic tac toe though, so watch out for them.

We talked to one guy from Brazil for quite a long time, relatively, and we interviewed him about chatroulette. He said that he goes on at night when he can’t sleep. I told him my hesitations with the site as it is know for nudity and creepy people. He told me about the new safety features which filters (or at least tries to) out nudity if you prefer not to see it. I was very thankful for this helpful tip and quickly switched over my  safety preferences, which seem to function very well.

Overall, my experience with Chatroulette was much more enjoyable than I anticipated it to be. I do not think I will use the site again, however, it was interesting to experience.

 


MySpace: The virtual home of child predators?

It is widely believed that the social networking site MySpace caters to thirteen-year-old whores and child predators. As a young teenager, my parents did not allow me to have a MySpace profile, as they too held firm to this belief. While exploring fifteen random MySpace profiles, my goal was to determine whether or not there was much truth behind this lingering conviction. The first profile I visited belonged to a girl, supposedly eighteen years old, who looked no older than a pre-teen. Her profile was public and free for me to view. There were several photographs of her in which her excessive cleavage was the central focus. It was these photos that received more attention than the rest, as each one displayed an outrageous amount of “views.” I explored a similar, also public profile next, one which belonged to a young girl who looked like she was barely out of elementary school. Although she had not posted any racy pictures of herself, a young man (who appeared to be much older than her) had posted a comment to her profile. He was hoping that they could become friends and had “juss thought [he] would show some love.” It was very obvious that the pair were not personally acquainted with each other.

All the profiles I viewed were discovered after I clicked on the “Browse” tab. I found it interesting that the default browse-setting was set to search for females between the ages of 18 and 35.

Although I do believe that pre-teens and young teens are very much in the dark when it comes to the dangers of publishing pictures of themselves and their personal information on the internet, I don’t believe that such behavior is limited to MySpace. Any social networking site may act as an outlet for young people to attract attention from older internet users – with possible wicked intentions. The internet itself, not strictly MySpace, is a marketplace for predators.

It is more important that parents, teachers, role models, older siblings, etc. teach our country’s youth about the dangers of the internet, rather than forbidding the use of a specific social networking site.


Chatroulette

I chose to visit Chatrouletee, and after doing so I wish I would have chosen a different site. Prior to visiting the site, the only things I had heard about the site was what my little brother and his friends who are in high school told me. They would either tell me the vulgar things they would experience while on the site or  claim they just were chatting with a celebrity. After hearing their stories I was somewhat scared to check out the site, and after actually doing it my intuitions were correct. I only was on the Chatroulette for a short while and I found it to be creepy. These are the reasons why parents and sites should limit some of the content, especially if the site allows kids to view it. If more parents actually knew about this website and their kids using it I can totally see how it would cause a moral panic. The site should defiantly have a rating system or something on it so that kids can chat with one another and limit the possibilities of  viewing nudity or hearing vulgar language. Overall, I thought the site was creepy.