Can a Metaverse Mitigate Sex and Violence?

Screen shot 2009-10-20 at 3.04.00 PM

I continue to be amazed at the irrational assumptions made about kid avatars in SL.  I have already written numerous blogs on various aspects of this issue.  Some people seem to make an automatic assumption that if one has a kid avatar they must automatically be some kind of pervert. I have met a lot of people that have kid avatars, and know that assumption is not true. I have also had to study my share of statistics, and realize that given a large enough population, we can also expect that some of the people with kid avs are going to fall into a category that can or will carry out behavior in real life that are actual crimes.

One of the questions that have come up in various conversations as we try to understand this new frontier of the metaverse is about people that have such impulses:  if someone is using a virtual world to act out the impulses and fantasies that, if they were done in real life, would be crimes, does this increase or decrease the likelihood that they will be more or less likely to do those bad things in real life?

I happened upon this article that recaps some studies that are finding that access to violent movies and internet porn is correlated with decreases in occurrences of violence and rape. It could very well be that the current reaction – to try to punish and prevent people for using pixels to act out fantasies of which we don’t approve – may actually increase the likelihood that instead of a consenting avatar being the victim, a real life person is victimized.

Maybe we should be more tolerant of people exploring their imagination in the metaverse.


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