Illinois Congressman Sees Threat to Children in Second Life

May 6, 2008 -
Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has called upon the Federal Trade Commission to issue an alert regarding what he says is a potential risk to children who play the popular online game Second Life

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Kirk said:
If you ask: Do you know about MySpace? The average parent will say yes. But the average parent doesn't know anything about Second Life...

Sites like Second Life offer no protections to keep kids from virtual "rape rooms," brothels, and drug stores. If sites like Second Life won't protect kids from obviously inappropriate content, the Congress will.

Mt. Prospect, Illinois Mayor Irvana Wilks echoed Kirk's concerns:
This Second Life is a new scare, unchartered territory. It hits home.

GP: We note that Rep. Kirk is currently running for re-election.

UPDATE: News.com has more...

Comments

"This Second Life is a new scare"

That about sums it up. Be afraid! Let your fear rule you, and know that only by voting for me can your fears be assuaged.

SL is no more or less "dangerous" than any number of other online arenas where people can interact. it just looks nicer to show when you are talking about predators coming through the internet to bodily snatch your child through the screen.

I have looked at it like this over the years. The internet is a giant city, there are dangers, and much of it is not kid-safe. If you would not let your child wander around San Francisco by itself, then why would you not supervise them online?

Damn. I have to admit, he has a point, TO AN EXTENT. It is possible for child predators to get into the section for kids disguised as a kid. Of course, he/she does have to be careful. At this point, I agree with Puddington.

Meanwhile, the PTC is STILL bitching and moaning. Gavin McKiernan seems to suffer from diarrhea of the mouth. Here's the URL:

http://news.google.com/news?btcid=5ec72277af34db18

"Retailers of this game should be treating this as an adult product. If they sell cigarettes, pornography or other adult products then they should treat GTA the same way by not marketing it to youth and the general population and keeping it behind counters and out of reach and sight of youth.

Is it really that bad? Yes. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association all agree about the detrimental affect of violent media on the growing mind. Parents and retailers need to be more informed and treat this as the potential harmful product that it is. "

I never even knew about this game till this dude said something about it.


I guess there is nothing to worry about,just some misinformed politician who knows nothing about games.


And who would want to work as a prostitute in a game,when you could be chainsawing some Locust bastards in Gears Of War?!Logic,fellow com mentors................logic.........

Oh, one more thing ontop of this. In the time I've spent in Second Life, I can say that those of you bitching about "oh, you can buy virtual genitalia and fuck like rabbits!" or whatever need to realize that it's not like a loaded gun left around the house. I can spend a few hours in Second Life going all around to different areas and never see one thing that's sexually related. If I do, it tends to be in a mall and all you have to do is pass up the store. Its not like the EULA on Second Life states that you must have a penis or vagina and you must have sex all the time.

Second life is MEANT to be open to anyone and their ideas, but that doesn't mean YOU have to go see them! Yes, there are BDSM clubs, furry forests, Gor (which is not BDSM), fetish clubs, strip clubs, so on and so forth. Yet these are so out of the way to get to that it's almost impossible to "stumble upon them". If you look at Second Life for that alone, you may as well condemn Mass Effect for the one "sex" scene it has.

Listen, for those of you that don't understand Second Life, why it's very popular, and how it works, it's not that hard. Most people expect to be told very specifically what to do. Quests, leveling up, doing what the game tells you to do...common MMO practices. That is NOT what SL is, and if you go in with that mindset you'll never understand it. Second Life is meant as a virtual community that exists inside a program that allows infinite possibilities. I've had so much entertainment come from building new things, writing scripts, meeting and chatting with people all over the world, going to live concerts every night, play Texas Hold'em (before the gambling ban), finding other things that people inside Second Life have created...there's ALOT you can do. Those are my personal favorites and the possibilities of what to do are endless.

Stop going on and on about Second Life = porn. It doesn't. Anyone that took a few minutes to get out of (and yes, I'm going there) a Jack Thompson mentality to look into it more would realize how ridiculous that statement sounds.

Well, this SORT of makes sense, but it sort of doesn't.

Oookay. So, really, unless he said more, he's basically saying that simply not knowing is enough to threaten children.

Well, I'd like to take in that I don't think most children would even be interested in Second Life. I could be wrong, but I'd think they'd prefer other games that are actually, y'know, games.

Nor is it "new" or "scare(y)" or "uncharted." Maybe to this guy, but to the rest of us, it's well-trodden.

I know that it had the same great potential that virtual shopping malls had about a decade or more ago...

And ended up nearly as failed.

Really, it's not that good or fun. Not to me anyway. Some folks think it cool. Good for them. Hope they enjoy it. But for me.... YUCK!

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Good thing, making parents aware of the free "MMO" scene.

Bad thing, scaremongering using Second Life. Do kids really play around on Second Life a lot? What about Habo Hotel or RuneScape . . .

In other news, these new fangled talking pictures are ruining radio.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptRep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has called upon the Federal Trade Commission to issue an alert regarding what he says is a potential risk to children who play the popular online game Second Life.  As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Kirk said: If you ask: Do you know about MySpace? The average parent will say yes. But the average parent doesn’t know anything about Second Life. [...]

I think any child who logged on to Second Life would be baffled, and then bored. It's not exactly WoW. Or even Puzzle Pirates.

I have a feeling he's talking (or trying to talk about) the threat posed by online child predators, not about the game itself.

I think one of you Illinois readers should clue him in. It's impossible to get onto the main Second Life grid without credentials, and you get permabanned if anybody ever figures out you're not 18 and reports you.

I hear the Teen Grid is pretty well policed, though, to make sure that there aren't any wild virtual sex parties and porn malls. Kinda wish there were larger chunks of the main grid like that, too, now that I think about it.

ROFL

Yes because poorly made free MMOs are what all children are playing nowadays.

So, since I don't know anything about him..can I view HIM as a threat to children and families?

Do kid's really play Second Life?

Second Life isn't even for kids. You have to be 18 or older to make an account, unless you lie about your age.

Unfortunately, the answer most Illinois politicians would give is "So how could I get kickbacks from this?" otherwise I'd be all over this. Clueless Illinois politicians is nothing new.

Do kid’s really play Second Life?

I doubt many do. A game that's not really a game is unchartered territory for most kids.

If any kids can log onto Second Life and find a reason to log on a second time can they get in touch with me and tell me what that reason is? I'm baffled as to what people see in Second Life.

So basically he discovered that an adult, pretending to be a minor pretending to be an adult, can get access to porn on the internet.

Welcome to 1990!

Summary: lolsecondlife

More serious and accurate summary, quoted directly from Dennis: "Rep. Kirk is currently running for re-election."

Oh NOES TEH CHILDREN!

*cough*voteforme*cough*
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Another conservative arsehole wants to be re-elected and tries to do so by playing the "Protect the Children" card, and uses for an example a VR that's not really a game or interesting to kids. That's pretty stupid...

Any kid who plays that game has to really enjoy pain.

Yeah, kids will play runescape not SL.

Don't people create flying penises or something like that in second life? I could see why it could be viewed as harmful.

Even if young kids wants to play second life, they have the option of Teen Second Life.

Well I think I get where he's coming from. Unless he tries to censor the game, I'm fine with this.

A politician not Savvy with Second Life, that's a new one.

Kids shouldn't be on second life for one. Second, it's about time to some politician discovered what was up in Second Life instead of using it as a rally point. This is officially the only game where I was penetrated by a tree. Second Life really is a sick, sick place. How it's been ignored for so long just shows the ignorance of politicians.

People dont know 'bout my Second Lives!

no.

kids like gta.

ha ha ha

@ Neneeko

Yeah, that's exactly what it sounds like.

This is another one of those "let's tack on a "kids" rider to some vaguely buzz-worthy topic" and call it a good public service deed for the day.

He could have gotten my vote by espousing the danger that Wii Sports poses.

Well...this "Second Life" sounds like shit...

I remember reading a quote from (if I remember correctly) the CEO of AOL from like 10-15 years ago. It went basically like "You wouldn't let your child walk around town alone at night, so why would you let them use the internet alone?"

Listing the "potential dangers" of every site is a waste of time. Parents need to be monitoring what their kids do, plain and simple. If the government really wanted to help, they should make sure parents understand rating systems, how to use net-blocking software, etc etc. For really young kids, I personally believe in locking them down to a handful sites is the best way to go - do most parents know you can even DO that?

Here I see a bunch of adult gamers going back and forth about what kids may or may not like...because, you know, they're experts in that sort of thing. It may surprise you fellows to know that minors are real people too, rather than the legion of ADHD robots some people think them to be. Judging by the fact that I made both main grid AND teen grid accounts when I was just 16 years old, I would say that SL does not try particularly hard to verify one's age. The only reason I stopped playing was because I didn't know many people and Second Life's community was bad enough that I had no intention of meeting people, so I just sat around on a friend's floating island palace fooling around with code till I got tired of it and left - like any social game, though, Second Life becomes quite playable if you've got enough friends who're also playing it.

Additionally, Second Life IS a major issue and it's about time that I've seen it addressed, since the real world has been desperately trying to root itself in SL for years. Many real-life businesses, banks, religious organizations, political groups, and even schools have official "outposts" in Second Life. It gives the game a certain air of legitimacy, and parents are more likely to hear about that than they are likely to hear about the fact that Second Life is the only MMO where you can actually purchase or even make virtual genitals for the purpose of cybersex.

...I've been to Second Life, and upon seeing all the sex animations, virtual penises and pedophilic furries I'm gonna have to agree with this one.

Epic Fail.

Personally I'd be more concerned about those I govern and their FIRST LIFE rather than their SECOND LIFE.

It must be pretty boring being a Congressman for Illinois.

I've encountered some teenagers on the SL main grid... they do get banned pretty quick if someone reports their age, but I all they need to do is stay quiet about it and they're fine. The vast majority of the game's population seems to be older, however, and I while it is a horrible horrible place (expect to see goatse, tubgirl, etc. until they no longer shock you, not to mention the eternal horrors of furry porn), I doubt there are many people on there who have not been introduced to the exact same material elsewhere on the internet.

Oh, and since kids are obliged to lie about their age, I really don't see SL as a haven for child predators. Sure, they EXIST on the game (like everywhere on the internet), but I suspect they're too busy roleplaying with child-like avatars played by other dirty old men to track down the real children, who could be anyone.

I'd say any software that lets you create custom content and share it is bound to go wrong. I play Forza Motorsport 2 on occassion and while it is E-rated, go on to the car auctions and you'll see hentai and porn decorated on cars. On a funny anecdote, I raced a car that said "GAY" in big letters on his doors.

It's like EGM said in their latest issue: "You can create wangs, wang enemies to shoot and wang trees to fly over. And if you're too lazy to make your own, you can download other people's wangs."

I have herd that there are furries on Second life, but the info came from Anon. If that is true it is a danger to everyone

If your child is on the internet and you don't know about it, now what they are looking at, or are too lazy to purchase any type of software that monitors their online activities then maybe you should re-think having internet access openly available in your home.

In my honest opinion, if he is so concerned about this, maybe he should talk to some companies that develop programs that monitor internet activity in order to protect children while on the internet to help drive his campaign while helping promote better parenting in a technology rich environment.

It would be a win-win situation because he is not pissing off anyone except kids who are doing stuff on the internet that they shouldn't be or aren't mature enough to be exposed to, parents can now keep control of their children's internet activities, a program developing company is getting promoted by a congressman, and a congressman can boost his voter potential and approval rating through the roof.

That gamer zone guy needs to learn to link right, not just make copy pasta. Also, Shadow, tone it down bud; You're looking like a hyper active 13 year old there, mate.

Bah.. Wrong thread, apologies good lads.

Lame! I have played second life and I can say without a doubt that he doesn't know jack about this game.
1. "This Second Life is a new scare..." Wrong! This game is not that new. It was made in 2003 and despite various patches has not changed that much if at all. The graphics, controls, and interface are still just as bad as ever. The controls and general interface for this "game" is so horrible that it is irritating just to look around, and maddening to change cloths. The animations and actions are incredibly disjointed that the designers who initially made this game should be ashamed and embarrassed when they compare it to Any other game made around or even before it.

2."unchartered territory" Not really. While technically it is the first of its kind in the sense of a simple online community where all you can do is chat and stuff, Every square inch of that game is charted and known to the developers since it is Contained withing the game. This is not a real place and the creators can change it to look however they wish. There is a map IN and OUT of the game the tells you exactly where everything and anything is. I sense that he is referring to something else, bit I just cant put it into words at the moment.
3. "It hits home." ???? I don't get this last remark, even in the context of the game and his statements about it. Whatever.

Overall this guy, as stated before, clearly doesnt know Squat about this game. It is far from being a good game, as I mentioned above, and it doesnt look like it is gonna get any better any time soon. However there are those who do still enjoy the game for whatever reason, and I wont begrudge them that. I know about all the creepy and crazy sex stuff that is in the game, but 1: this "game" is not just meant for only kids; Adults play this and many desire to be able to do and see more mature things.
2:There are filters in place to keep young kids out of the nasty stuff.

Probably the only real truth to what he said is that is that this "game" is not comparatively well know, particularly when compared to Myspace. But what he doesn't realize is that there is almost just as much smut on Myspace (last time I checked). The only difference is that one is 3D and the other is 2D. There are just as many pervs, pedos, sickos, and overall F@#$ed up people on either of them.

I'd like to raise the point that Internet filters are NOT a perfect answer. I've known two people, both over the age of 18, who had internet filters on their personal computers which were extremely disruptive of their internet activities. One person's blocker went so far as to actually censor anything they typed, actually removing curse words from messages sent via IM; the other's bans an extremely wide variety of sites, including not the major internet humor communities (such as 4chan and Something Awful), but Youtube and Google Image Search as well (not to mention a wide variety of other useful sites)! Every time one of them asks me to send them an image or an excerpt from a website because they can't access it, I'm reminded that while internet filtering software is an easy answer and certainly good enough for young children, automated blocking is a bit too heavy-handed for teenagers, who find their internet use much restricted.

Whatever.

Only way for kids to get on the main grid is to lie about their age, same as they do on other adult oriented web sites

Which is why this congressman is informing parents that Second Life, in fact, can contain adult content and that parents should pay attention to when their child is using it, just like they should with Myspace.
 
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