Rules and rulebreaking in Second Life

Tomorrow I'll be attending the Metaverse conference in Silicon Valley. Attending me will be my 12-year-old son. I'm thinking a lot about virtual worlds and the kinds of impacts they'll have on my son's life. For instance, right now I'm typing to you from a Southwest Airlines jet traveling between Seattle, Washington to Oakland, California and I'm reading "Synthetic Worlds" by Edward Castronova. Just a little light reading about the virtual economies (he's an economist and the book illuminates the new virtual worlds for newbies) and how they will impact what I'll do with my career. For instance, I can see building a job just out of tending an island in Second Life and hosting memeorable experiences there. If blogging can go from nothing to 145 million hits a month at Microsoft in less than three years, why can't a Second Life experience do the same?

But, anyway, this leads into another discussion I had with Linden Labs recently at the Maker Faire.When my son and I first got to Maker Faire we met Beth Goza. She was quite excited by having Second Life be the cover story in BusinessWeek that week. The whole company was abuzz, it was good news after having to fight through financial tough times. Boy, does that bring back memories of when I worked at UserLand and ran the books there. It's not easy getting a company off the ground.

Anyway, Beth, who is their community ambassador, pulled me and Patrick aside and said something like "we can't let you let Patrick play Second Life."I knew this conversation was coming because I knew the rules and I was explicitly breaking them.

First, what are the rules? No one under 18 in the regular Second Life. There's a "Teen" version of Second Life that's a separate world and only 13 to 17-year-olds are allowed in there. No adults. No one under 13.

I was letting Patrick run around Second Life. The adult version. He's only 12. Turns out they aren't even going to let him come into the Teen version of Second Life until he's 13.

Now, why do these rules exist? Lawyers, for one. They are afraid of getting sued by some parent who finds out there's, shock, sex, gambling, and violence in Second Life. There are areas of Second Life that would earn an X-rating if they were films.

And, in the kids area they want to make sure that there isn't predatory behavior going on.

Both rules are understandable, right?

I understand them. My son understands them. We knew we were breaking the rules. Eric Rice told us so. That's how virtual culture gets communicated. Because I was seen as influential (I was quoted in the BusinessWeek article, and had talked about our experiences on popular technology shows like TWiT) so Beth told me that people inside Second Life weren't happy that I was publicly breaking the rules.

My son and I were outlaws and we must be stopped. Heheh.

The thing is, I don't necessarily buy into the rules of society, or the rules of Linden Labs. If I don't mind my son getting into a Poker game, or seeing a virtual sex act, isn't that my right as a parent to let my son experience those things?

No. Our puritanical society has set up rules and regulations about such things. If you enter a Las Vegas casino you aren't allowed to let your kids sit down and play backjack. At least not until they are 21.

In Second Life the same rules and regulations exist.

End result? I decided not to fight cause I want to remain in Second Life. My son no longer has my password to Second Life.

I do think the rules suck, though. This is a virtual world. Why do we need to live with first-world rules?

Oh, and Patrick and I will be interviewed tomorrow by John Swords who records the Second Cast.

85 thoughts on “Rules and rulebreaking in Second Life

  1. Hi Connie,

    a similar thing happened to my son. He bought a large parcel of land with another person (who was going to pay the monthly charges) and it turned out that only one of them needed to ‘agree’ to sell it on. So although my son paid the bulk of the purchase money, the other kid sold it on without him and pocketed all the money.

    There is nothing that can be done about this sort of thing. However that was nothing compared to what is going on at the moment.

    There is at least one over 18 year old on the teen grid who is developing ‘virtual’ relationships with youngsters and causing a lot of grief. As far as I know it isn’t sexually motivated but it has caused my son a lot of emotional pain.

    I wish I had persuaded him to leave Second Life when the land scam happened – this situation is far more damaging.

    There is also another person on the teen grid playing some very nasty ‘mind games’ with younger children.

    It is very sad but many people who believe that rules are not for them can also be the ones who enjoy hurting others any way they can manage it.

    Second Life has turned out to be way more sinister than I had expected.

  2. Hi Connie,

    a similar thing happened to my son. He bought a large parcel of land with another person (who was going to pay the monthly charges) and it turned out that only one of them needed to ‘agree’ to sell it on. So although my son paid the bulk of the purchase money, the other kid sold it on without him and pocketed all the money.

    There is nothing that can be done about this sort of thing. However that was nothing compared to what is going on at the moment.

    There is at least one over 18 year old on the teen grid who is developing ‘virtual’ relationships with youngsters and causing a lot of grief. As far as I know it isn’t sexually motivated but it has caused my son a lot of emotional pain.

    I wish I had persuaded him to leave Second Life when the land scam happened – this situation is far more damaging.

    There is also another person on the teen grid playing some very nasty ‘mind games’ with younger children.

    It is very sad but many people who believe that rules are not for them can also be the ones who enjoy hurting others any way they can manage it.

    Second Life has turned out to be way more sinister than I had expected.

  3. Hi there – do you have any suggestions for taking action with respect to a “robbery” that occurred in second life? It happened to my daughter – she has been a member for some time. She owned a house or was paying the landlord so she could buy the house – (not quite sure) and she called me in a panic yesterday stating that 3 people showed up on her property yesterday, threatened her or something and all of a sudden her property was gone. They were the children of the landlord I believe she said. She complained to the “landlord”, to Linden Labs and through their tech support and they told her to “get a lawyer”. Someone she blogged with through the forums there paid her the cost of the land (out of sympathy) – $20.00 US ($7500 linden dollars) but she is very upset about losing her property etc. I have no suggestions for her other than blogging experience and complaining like that.

    Any suggestions? She is very committed to second life and is feeling very betrayed right now. She wanted me to steer her to a Kelowna lawyer (we are in BC, Canada) but I doubt anyone here would touch this at all.

    Thanks.

    Connie

  4. Hi there – do you have any suggestions for taking action with respect to a “robbery” that occurred in second life? It happened to my daughter – she has been a member for some time. She owned a house or was paying the landlord so she could buy the house – (not quite sure) and she called me in a panic yesterday stating that 3 people showed up on her property yesterday, threatened her or something and all of a sudden her property was gone. They were the children of the landlord I believe she said. She complained to the “landlord”, to Linden Labs and through their tech support and they told her to “get a lawyer”. Someone she blogged with through the forums there paid her the cost of the land (out of sympathy) – $20.00 US ($7500 linden dollars) but she is very upset about losing her property etc. I have no suggestions for her other than blogging experience and complaining like that.

    Any suggestions? She is very committed to second life and is feeling very betrayed right now. She wanted me to steer her to a Kelowna lawyer (we are in BC, Canada) but I doubt anyone here would touch this at all.

    Thanks.

    Connie

  5. Our world is one requiring relationships; and trust and respect come into play. Some say that each relationship reflects the one you have with yourself. The real “fun” starts when we treat others with respect and trust but have little for ourselves. (but that’s another subject area.) The flip side (I believe the one that applies here)is when we have little trust or respect for others – and only trust ourselves. And this is demonstrated, i.e., violated in very smnall ways. Anyone ever wonder about the effects police have in this area of respectand trust when they continually are observed running stop signs and violating all sorts of traffic laws “because they can”?

  6. Our world is one requiring relationships; and trust and respect come into play. Some say that each relationship reflects the one you have with yourself. The real “fun” starts when we treat others with respect and trust but have little for ourselves. (but that’s another subject area.) The flip side (I believe the one that applies here)is when we have little trust or respect for others – and only trust ourselves. And this is demonstrated, i.e., violated in very smnall ways. Anyone ever wonder about the effects police have in this area of respectand trust when they continually are observed running stop signs and violating all sorts of traffic laws “because they can”?

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  8. I half agree with Scobleizer here, in the way that it’s every parent’s full right to decide how to raise their kid. But learning him to break rules in this way, is not a really good idea I think.

    Of all comments and arguments, I’m still missing one very simle basic one:
    Who is responsible for what your child experiences, sees, hears or does on the internet: Linden Labs and every other content provider, or the child’s parents?

    Simple question, and simple answer: the PARENTS.

    The fact that Linden Labs makes an 18+ age rule and a seperate Teen grid, is for the simple fact that they have to protect themselves legally, not to protect your children… That is not -their- responsibility. (Of course, it’s not as if the Lindens don’t care, of course no-one wants anyone’s kid to fall prey to ‘predators’as they are called above)

    This is for the simple fact thatin the US, it’s very easy to just let others take responsibility for your actions, legally: for an example, the lawsuit against a large fastfood chain for not warning a customer the coffee is hot… or the cigarette companies being sied left and right by smokers who appearently didn’t know smoking can give you cancer. So if not putting that rule up, there will eventually be a case where a minor wanders into an adult area on SL main, and the parent decides it’s Linden’s fault for letting their kid onto the grid and into adult areas.

    On that note, it’s been proven here by scobleizer here and on other occaisions, that it’s very easy for kids to get onto the main SL grid, and vice versa: you can’t make me believe there aren’t any people of over 18 on the SL Teen grid. (aside from the Linden approved people) it’s very, VERY hard, if not impossible, to verify if all users are *really* the age they fill in on registration, even with the old creditcard system sill in place.

    So, here’s my advice to all parents:

    If you can’t keep track of what exactly your kid is doing on the internet, keep the PC locked; it’s not only Second Life, but the internet is absolutely FULL of pornography, violence, and other things that are totally unsuitable for children.

    in short:
    The internet is NOT FOR KIDS!

    (As a final note: here in the Netherlands, the legal age for sex is 16: my nephew, currently on the SL Teen grid, is definately too ‘wise’ in that area for to (be forced to) stay on the teen grid so to speak.)

    (and no, I don’t have kids myself. I have my nephews and nieces and they’re troublesome enough already)

  9. I half agree with Scobleizer here, in the way that it’s every parent’s full right to decide how to raise their kid. But learning him to break rules in this way, is not a really good idea I think.

    Of all comments and arguments, I’m still missing one very simle basic one:
    Who is responsible for what your child experiences, sees, hears or does on the internet: Linden Labs and every other content provider, or the child’s parents?

    Simple question, and simple answer: the PARENTS.

    The fact that Linden Labs makes an 18+ age rule and a seperate Teen grid, is for the simple fact that they have to protect themselves legally, not to protect your children… That is not -their- responsibility. (Of course, it’s not as if the Lindens don’t care, of course no-one wants anyone’s kid to fall prey to ‘predators’as they are called above)

    This is for the simple fact thatin the US, it’s very easy to just let others take responsibility for your actions, legally: for an example, the lawsuit against a large fastfood chain for not warning a customer the coffee is hot… or the cigarette companies being sied left and right by smokers who appearently didn’t know smoking can give you cancer. So if not putting that rule up, there will eventually be a case where a minor wanders into an adult area on SL main, and the parent decides it’s Linden’s fault for letting their kid onto the grid and into adult areas.

    On that note, it’s been proven here by scobleizer here and on other occaisions, that it’s very easy for kids to get onto the main SL grid, and vice versa: you can’t make me believe there aren’t any people of over 18 on the SL Teen grid. (aside from the Linden approved people) it’s very, VERY hard, if not impossible, to verify if all users are *really* the age they fill in on registration, even with the old creditcard system sill in place.

    So, here’s my advice to all parents:

    If you can’t keep track of what exactly your kid is doing on the internet, keep the PC locked; it’s not only Second Life, but the internet is absolutely FULL of pornography, violence, and other things that are totally unsuitable for children.

    in short:
    The internet is NOT FOR KIDS!

    (As a final note: here in the Netherlands, the legal age for sex is 16: my nephew, currently on the SL Teen grid, is definately too ‘wise’ in that area for to (be forced to) stay on the teen grid so to speak.)

    (and no, I don’t have kids myself. I have my nephews and nieces and they’re troublesome enough already)

  10. Hi Robert,
    On a different note, wanted to say interesting to read your perspective in the Business Week article. Out of curiosity how do you think Microsoft approaches the later “Talent Bank” section on “the power of games to transform information work?”
    P.S. I hope your mom gets well.

  11. Hi Robert,
    On a different note, wanted to say interesting to read your perspective in the Business Week article. Out of curiosity how do you think Microsoft approaches the later “Talent Bank” section on “the power of games to transform information work?”
    P.S. I hope your mom gets well.

  12. At least you got a proper warning and notification of possible disciplinary action. My 13-year-old’s son’s account was arbitrarily locked down just when he was trying to sell his mall on the no. 2 spot of the popular list — with no e-mail about disciplinary action and not a single liaision able to explain. Finally, after a week, he got through to LL in person and they suddenly unlocked his account and said something vague about thinking he wasn’t a kid — apparently his personal call convinced them.

    There isn’t any online porn or gambling on the Teen Grid — they are very scrupulous about keeping that out.

    What’s hilarious about the Linden fastidiousness, however, is that with their cell-phone sign-up system now, they’ve flooded the main, adult grid with teens using mom and dad’s cells to sign up, and that means on the teen grid, there are 9-year-olds. I see this from my customers who are teens sometimes busted and knocked down to the teen grid, and my son sees their little brothers who are 9 fooling around on the TG.

    The zeal to get up subscription numbers has caused them to go this cellphone route — perhaps they didn’t realize that many kids in America routinely have cells now on their parents’ accounts.

  13. At least you got a proper warning and notification of possible disciplinary action. My 13-year-old’s son’s account was arbitrarily locked down just when he was trying to sell his mall on the no. 2 spot of the popular list — with no e-mail about disciplinary action and not a single liaision able to explain. Finally, after a week, he got through to LL in person and they suddenly unlocked his account and said something vague about thinking he wasn’t a kid — apparently his personal call convinced them.

    There isn’t any online porn or gambling on the Teen Grid — they are very scrupulous about keeping that out.

    What’s hilarious about the Linden fastidiousness, however, is that with their cell-phone sign-up system now, they’ve flooded the main, adult grid with teens using mom and dad’s cells to sign up, and that means on the teen grid, there are 9-year-olds. I see this from my customers who are teens sometimes busted and knocked down to the teen grid, and my son sees their little brothers who are 9 fooling around on the TG.

    The zeal to get up subscription numbers has caused them to go this cellphone route — perhaps they didn’t realize that many kids in America routinely have cells now on their parents’ accounts.

  14. “If I don’t mind my son getting into a Poker game, or seeing a virtual sex act, isn’t that my right as a parent to let my son experience those things?”

    How does that libertarian sounding attitude jive with the fact that you’re perfectly comfortable with laws that prevent a person from opening up a Bar called “We Heart Cigarettes!” where people can smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol?

    In either case it seems like group A telling group B what they can and can’t do based on what group A thinks is safe.

  15. “If I don’t mind my son getting into a Poker game, or seeing a virtual sex act, isn’t that my right as a parent to let my son experience those things?”

    How does that libertarian sounding attitude jive with the fact that you’re perfectly comfortable with laws that prevent a person from opening up a Bar called “We Heart Cigarettes!” where people can smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol?

    In either case it seems like group A telling group B what they can and can’t do based on what group A thinks is safe.

  16. @31 I’m not suggesting shielding minors. However, it seems some think the a good solution is exposure. I’ve taught my children the dangers of drugs, alchohol, unprotected sex and promiscuity… (I don’t know of too many people that come down with STD’s and AIDS that are in monogomous relationships). My children are also skilled on how to surf the internet and stay safe. Thankfully I’ve not had any problems with them in those areas (and believe me, I would know…the signs would be obvious even though kids think they can be discreet). So, if you want to call educating them and discouraging ‘experiencing” and experimenttion shielding, that’s fine. I see no value in taking an approach that rules apply to everybody else but me.

  17. @31 I’m not suggesting shielding minors. However, it seems some think the a good solution is exposure. I’ve taught my children the dangers of drugs, alchohol, unprotected sex and promiscuity… (I don’t know of too many people that come down with STD’s and AIDS that are in monogomous relationships). My children are also skilled on how to surf the internet and stay safe. Thankfully I’ve not had any problems with them in those areas (and believe me, I would know…the signs would be obvious even though kids think they can be discreet). So, if you want to call educating them and discouraging ‘experiencing” and experimenttion shielding, that’s fine. I see no value in taking an approach that rules apply to everybody else but me.

  18. “The thing is, I don’t necessarily buy into the rules of society, or the rules of Linden Labs.”

    If you want to set up a relationship with a service provider, you both need to agree to a set of terms for a deal to work.

    If instead you’re arguing about legal issues, then that’s an argument for decentralizing, depoliticizing choice.

    I hear a steady current here of “everyone else should act as I wish”, which hasn’t been very sustainable in the past.

  19. “The thing is, I don’t necessarily buy into the rules of society, or the rules of Linden Labs.”

    If you want to set up a relationship with a service provider, you both need to agree to a set of terms for a deal to work.

    If instead you’re arguing about legal issues, then that’s an argument for decentralizing, depoliticizing choice.

    I hear a steady current here of “everyone else should act as I wish”, which hasn’t been very sustainable in the past.

  20. Dmad, there’s a whole spectrum between complete shielding and experiencing everything; your reaction is way overstated. If not one then the other? Nonsense.

    Kids WILL find ways to access the net in whatever form it comes. And yes, there is a lot of bad stuff out there (same as in the real world). Yes, there are a lot of weirdos out there (same as in the real world).

    What it comes down to is that kids are better off informed than shielded. Because there is no way to shield when the entire world is connected.

  21. Dmad, there’s a whole spectrum between complete shielding and experiencing everything; your reaction is way overstated. If not one then the other? Nonsense.

    Kids WILL find ways to access the net in whatever form it comes. And yes, there is a lot of bad stuff out there (same as in the real world). Yes, there are a lot of weirdos out there (same as in the real world).

    What it comes down to is that kids are better off informed than shielded. Because there is no way to shield when the entire world is connected.

  22. @29. So does that mean you expose them to drugs, alcohol and sex..let them experience it so you aren’t “shielding” them? “Sure son. Snort a couple of lines of coke. That’s the only way you are going to ‘experience’ the effects. Nothing I can say or do to educate you on the risks would be as effective. Here, have some beer, wine, whiskey, vodka…. Again, you must experience it to know. Nothing I can say our do would be as effective. Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s a needle. Shoot up! Again, the only way to really know the effects of heroin is to experience it. Now, go have sex. Not with a condom, because it’s not the same. You must have unprotected sex to REALLY experience it.”

    Sounds like a perfect strategy.

  23. @29. So does that mean you expose them to drugs, alcohol and sex..let them experience it so you aren’t “shielding” them? “Sure son. Snort a couple of lines of coke. That’s the only way you are going to ‘experience’ the effects. Nothing I can say or do to educate you on the risks would be as effective. Here, have some beer, wine, whiskey, vodka…. Again, you must experience it to know. Nothing I can say our do would be as effective. Oh, and while we’re at it, here’s a needle. Shoot up! Again, the only way to really know the effects of heroin is to experience it. Now, go have sex. Not with a condom, because it’s not the same. You must have unprotected sex to REALLY experience it.”

    Sounds like a perfect strategy.

  24. “Both rules are understandable, right?

    I understand them. My son understands them. ”

    I don’t understand them. Yes, there are bad things out there in both in the virtual and real world. But is the solution to completely shield our/your kids until they turn legal adults (meaning a fixed year, like all the kids mature at the same rate) and then completely turn them loose? Because I can already tell you what is going to happen. By definition, whatever is forbidden is interesting. This has been true since someone wrote down the Adam and Eve story.

  25. “Both rules are understandable, right?

    I understand them. My son understands them. ”

    I don’t understand them. Yes, there are bad things out there in both in the virtual and real world. But is the solution to completely shield our/your kids until they turn legal adults (meaning a fixed year, like all the kids mature at the same rate) and then completely turn them loose? Because I can already tell you what is going to happen. By definition, whatever is forbidden is interesting. This has been true since someone wrote down the Adam and Eve story.

  26. Jay, it matters to society as a whole. As I said, I don’t know how the particular ages are arrived at, and some may well be pretty arbitrary, but society cannot treat everyone as an individual because you’d descend into anarchy. As a result rules are set which may be inappropriate for some people. I didn’t join this discussion to talk about drinking age, but I have to point out that changing it is known to have an effect on society in multiple ways, of which drinking and driving is one. In the UK a sizeable number of youngsters kill themselves by drink driving before they are 20 (UK legal driving age is 17). A further group kill other people. Overall 17-24 year olds represent about 3% of the driving population but they represent 26% of the people convicted for killing other people while driving. That’s hugely disproportionate. Note that I’m not saying that all of those deaths are drink related. My previous point was that there are ages where, on average, most people will be capable of dealing with particular responsibilities, whether it’s voting, drinking, driving, killing, or anything else. Is it really incomprehensible that these ages might be different for the different things?

    Dave

  27. Jay, it matters to society as a whole. As I said, I don’t know how the particular ages are arrived at, and some may well be pretty arbitrary, but society cannot treat everyone as an individual because you’d descend into anarchy. As a result rules are set which may be inappropriate for some people. I didn’t join this discussion to talk about drinking age, but I have to point out that changing it is known to have an effect on society in multiple ways, of which drinking and driving is one. In the UK a sizeable number of youngsters kill themselves by drink driving before they are 20 (UK legal driving age is 17). A further group kill other people. Overall 17-24 year olds represent about 3% of the driving population but they represent 26% of the people convicted for killing other people while driving. That’s hugely disproportionate. Note that I’m not saying that all of those deaths are drink related. My previous point was that there are ages where, on average, most people will be capable of dealing with particular responsibilities, whether it’s voting, drinking, driving, killing, or anything else. Is it really incomprehensible that these ages might be different for the different things?

    Dave

  28. It’s important to distinguish between “rules” and “Laws”. I have no problem breaking a rule, they are generally arbitrary and poorly thought out. More often then not they are about protecting a liability that I would not impact or just there because somebody felt that it was needed to feel big… Now all of these things are try about laws as well to one degree or another, very few laws are truly essential to a make a society function so what distinguishes rules from laws? Consequences. Breaking a of rules might have a natural consequence but nobody is going to rite you a ticked or server you with criminal papers over it.
    Of course then there is contract law, like in EUL that nobody reads, that is generally just some bully trying to codify there arbitrary rules and liability shield into law so that they can defraud you of your rights but that is a much more murky area

    My point, I have none, except to say you should feel free to ignore arbitrary rules unless you actual fear the consequences. Don’t let the Man push your around for their own reasons that you don’t consider justified for how they effect your lives.

  29. It’s important to distinguish between “rules” and “Laws”. I have no problem breaking a rule, they are generally arbitrary and poorly thought out. More often then not they are about protecting a liability that I would not impact or just there because somebody felt that it was needed to feel big… Now all of these things are try about laws as well to one degree or another, very few laws are truly essential to a make a society function so what distinguishes rules from laws? Consequences. Breaking a of rules might have a natural consequence but nobody is going to rite you a ticked or server you with criminal papers over it.
    Of course then there is contract law, like in EUL that nobody reads, that is generally just some bully trying to codify there arbitrary rules and liability shield into law so that they can defraud you of your rights but that is a much more murky area

    My point, I have none, except to say you should feel free to ignore arbitrary rules unless you actual fear the consequences. Don’t let the Man push your around for their own reasons that you don’t consider justified for how they effect your lives.

  30. @23. By the same logic, what’s magical about the age of 18. Sure some people are more mature than others. So how do you measure that? “Oh, I see you are 17 but behave more like a 25 year old, so yes you are allowed to drink”. No matter what age is decided upon some group will say it’s unfair.

    Hell, what’s magical about the age of 25 for renting a car? 35 for running for President?

    Keep in mind that there are many 18 year olds that are still seniors in high school. The fact that they would have legal access to alchohol will likely influence 15-17 year olds, and likely also make it easier for them to get access. (High school parties anyone?). So, let’s not be so naive that every parent can be as “responsible” as Scoble advertises himself to be and will edumacate their kids on the risks of drinking. 21 year olds are farther removed from minors than 18 year olds are.

    And I’d like someone to show me the statistics that indicate that lowering the drinking age will make young adults more responsible about drinking. I think the data show that countries with lower drinking ages have pretty much the same problems with alcholol related crimes and issues that those with higher drinking ages. Back when some states lowered the drinking age to 18, studies showed that high schoolers that couldn’t legally drink until age 21 drank less before age 18 and between the ages of 21-25 than those that could legally drink at 18. Short of the studies on moderate wine usage affect on the heart, can anyone list any societal or health advantages to drinking?

    Sure everyone should be responsible for their own actions, but the law doesn’t alwasy see it that way. Parents are often responsible for the actions of their minor children. And like I said, if you “responsible parents” that encourage underage drinking end up being involved in a drunk driving incident caused by your “responsible kid” you can bet I’m coming after everything you own.

  31. @23. By the same logic, what’s magical about the age of 18. Sure some people are more mature than others. So how do you measure that? “Oh, I see you are 17 but behave more like a 25 year old, so yes you are allowed to drink”. No matter what age is decided upon some group will say it’s unfair.

    Hell, what’s magical about the age of 25 for renting a car? 35 for running for President?

    Keep in mind that there are many 18 year olds that are still seniors in high school. The fact that they would have legal access to alchohol will likely influence 15-17 year olds, and likely also make it easier for them to get access. (High school parties anyone?). So, let’s not be so naive that every parent can be as “responsible” as Scoble advertises himself to be and will edumacate their kids on the risks of drinking. 21 year olds are farther removed from minors than 18 year olds are.

    And I’d like someone to show me the statistics that indicate that lowering the drinking age will make young adults more responsible about drinking. I think the data show that countries with lower drinking ages have pretty much the same problems with alcholol related crimes and issues that those with higher drinking ages. Back when some states lowered the drinking age to 18, studies showed that high schoolers that couldn’t legally drink until age 21 drank less before age 18 and between the ages of 21-25 than those that could legally drink at 18. Short of the studies on moderate wine usage affect on the heart, can anyone list any societal or health advantages to drinking?

    Sure everyone should be responsible for their own actions, but the law doesn’t alwasy see it that way. Parents are often responsible for the actions of their minor children. And like I said, if you “responsible parents” that encourage underage drinking end up being involved in a drunk driving incident caused by your “responsible kid” you can bet I’m coming after everything you own.

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