It is fun being a kid – Travis, Nefu, and Jeremy wearing silly hats and otherwise being funny goofs.
In my Intro blog entry I described the basic reasons for making my avatar a kid – which was basically because in my mind’s eye the “me” I see has always been a kid, much like Pais – and so he’s really my inner child.
I know that kid avatars are not all that typical. I have not seen or done a formal study, but my observation is that most avatars appear to like they may be 20-something, with rather exaggerated physical characteristics. Females kind of look like eight foot tall Barbie Dolls, and males have humongous chests, shoulders, and muscles. I am pretty sure that most people don’t look at all like their avatars. Of course there are others that are any type of creature or machine that could be imagined – and why not? – this is a place of imagination and fantasy.
We don’t need to be in second life to keep our inner selves behind a facade. Unless one has some sort of personality disorder, they will project a different persona based on context. For instance, think of how you might try to appear and act at a job interview versus when you drinking tequila next to a fire on a beach.
Being a kid means eschewing adult baggage and responsibilities to focus on fun and friendships. We get to do anything we want, have fun, without a lot of pretext.
We discovered how to stack ourselves in a spontaneous fit of weirdness.
As it turns out, as a kid avatar one can get some pretty negative reactions from the non-kids, so even though it seems pretty obvious to me why being a kid is a perfectly natural way to have fun, I feel compelled to try to explain why it is OK to be a kid in second life.
First off, all second life account holders are required to be adults. That’s a given. I don’t know why it needs to be pointed out but there are actually people so confused about the basic premise of SL that they think that because some avatars are kids, then kids are somehow being affected.
Sola invokes a mythical boy archetype as he plays the Pan Flute
Next, since sex is on pretty much everyone’s mind, it seems, and since people in many cultures are conditioned and bludgeoned with guilt issues to confound their sexuality and their perceptions of others, then for some reason they project their own worst desires and fears on others. Thus it is that people make some pretty ridiculous assumptions about what dangerous implications there are when someone plays a kid in second life. An accusation I have heard more than once is that we must be pedophiles. Such accusations remind me of the scientific studies that found that many overt homophobes are themselves physically attracted to their same sex, thus it is likely that the most vocal of the fear mongers and griefers are simply projecting their worst fears of their own selves on others.
I don’t think that people having kid’s avatars creates any more danger for real life kids than any other fantasy or fictional depiction of kids, such as can be found in books, television, or movies, perpetrate their storyline into reality.
Take a look at the following video:
When I see the kids singing that Ramones song, I am not wanting the children, I want to be one of them. They’re so cool, and I certainly can identify with the lyrics of the song.