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.

Comments

  1. You sound like a great parent, my mom and dad always let me explore with no boundries. My only requirement was that I explain why I came to the decisions I did.

    The offered me beer, smokes, hell my mom asked me if I needed condoms a little after I turned 13. I was treated like an adult. Because of that I don’t get sloshed at parties, smoke, eat right, and understand balance.

    if there is one thing i’m glad my mom did for me that i think you should do for patrick is let him go to a camp for 2 months. without you.

    some of my best memories are from summer camp, i loved it, my best friend who i still talk to today is from my childhood summer camp.

    computers are like protein shakes. protein shakes replace meals, they’re great when you need a meal on the go or right after your workout. computers replace relationships, and while it lets me build a relationship with a blogger like you, what i share with you isn’t what i share with my freinds who i see daily.

    i dislike things like myspace and facebook and second life because they’re runing this whole concept of friends and relationships. i was once alone, when i kicked the social netowrking habit about 2 years ago it was a bold move. now i know people everyday cancelling their accounts! the thing is for every 1 college student that stops using social netowrking, 10 sign into it.

    in conclusion since i’m rambling, i love what you’re doing with patrick. this whole concept of keeping shutters on your sons eyes then removing them when he turns 18 or 21 is a recipe for disaster.

    my dad always says “nothing in excess, everything in moderation” and i live by that.

  2. You sound like a great parent, my mom and dad always let me explore with no boundries. My only requirement was that I explain why I came to the decisions I did.

    The offered me beer, smokes, hell my mom asked me if I needed condoms a little after I turned 13. I was treated like an adult. Because of that I don’t get sloshed at parties, smoke, eat right, and understand balance.

    if there is one thing i’m glad my mom did for me that i think you should do for patrick is let him go to a camp for 2 months. without you.

    some of my best memories are from summer camp, i loved it, my best friend who i still talk to today is from my childhood summer camp.

    computers are like protein shakes. protein shakes replace meals, they’re great when you need a meal on the go or right after your workout. computers replace relationships, and while it lets me build a relationship with a blogger like you, what i share with you isn’t what i share with my freinds who i see daily.

    i dislike things like myspace and facebook and second life because they’re runing this whole concept of friends and relationships. i was once alone, when i kicked the social netowrking habit about 2 years ago it was a bold move. now i know people everyday cancelling their accounts! the thing is for every 1 college student that stops using social netowrking, 10 sign into it.

    in conclusion since i’m rambling, i love what you’re doing with patrick. this whole concept of keeping shutters on your sons eyes then removing them when he turns 18 or 21 is a recipe for disaster.

    my dad always says “nothing in excess, everything in moderation” and i live by that.

  3. If I could count the number of times a Resi hath asked me if Linden Lab could establish a moonbase (or in one instance, somehow fold ourselves recursively so SL became the predominant reality) and be free of Earthly laws… ah. :)

    That’s one thing that pulls some people back.

    I can’t wait *fantasizes* until Second Life open sources and people can run their own grid at home–would be nice to see what some micronations do with that.

  4. If I could count the number of times a Resi hath asked me if Linden Lab could establish a moonbase (or in one instance, somehow fold ourselves recursively so SL became the predominant reality) and be free of Earthly laws… ah. :)

    That’s one thing that pulls some people back.

    I can’t wait *fantasizes* until Second Life open sources and people can run their own grid at home–would be nice to see what some micronations do with that.

  5. Well, I don’t think this post is at all about Robert’s parenting – one way or the other.

    It’s about a much different question or issue reguarding “rules”. And Robert has posed a very metaphysical question. Fascinating.

  6. Well, I don’t think this post is at all about Robert’s parenting – one way or the other.

    It’s about a much different question or issue reguarding “rules”. And Robert has posed a very metaphysical question. Fascinating.

  7. Based on the love Adam Curry has given Second Life, I know there are several Irish teenagers enjoying the party as much as Patrick used to like clicking through SL.

  8. Based on the love Adam Curry has given Second Life, I know there are several Irish teenagers enjoying the party as much as Patrick used to like clicking through SL.

  9. I think your attitude to the rules here shows a misunderstanding of the situation that, for me, is becoming frighteningly common. While I agree that in some cases rules are being pushed too far and legal worries place undue restrictions this is not always the case. It is important to remember that the rules that restrict individuals are often there to protect society as a whole. Human beings realised thousands of years ago that living co-operatively gave huge advantages but, and it’s a big but, it also required that individuals conform to certain boundaries in order that the advantages could be sustained. Those rules exist to this day, sometimes in altered forms which continue to evolve. Over time some rules have, effectively, been lifted as society as a whole could cope with their removal. The issue is who decides how fast that can happen?

    In this specific case a rule is in place to protect those that cannot protect themselves. Youngsters with proper supervision and of sufficient maturity may well be able to break this rule without consequences, but the effect of weakening the rule because an individual asserts their right to ignore it should not be ignored. Does your sons ‘right’ to take part in Second Life justify putting someone else’s child at risk?

    Responsible behaviour as parents includes ensuring that our children understand that the fabric of society is quite weak and, while it can and should be stretched, it breaks easily.

    Dave

  10. I think your attitude to the rules here shows a misunderstanding of the situation that, for me, is becoming frighteningly common. While I agree that in some cases rules are being pushed too far and legal worries place undue restrictions this is not always the case. It is important to remember that the rules that restrict individuals are often there to protect society as a whole. Human beings realised thousands of years ago that living co-operatively gave huge advantages but, and it’s a big but, it also required that individuals conform to certain boundaries in order that the advantages could be sustained. Those rules exist to this day, sometimes in altered forms which continue to evolve. Over time some rules have, effectively, been lifted as society as a whole could cope with their removal. The issue is who decides how fast that can happen?

    In this specific case a rule is in place to protect those that cannot protect themselves. Youngsters with proper supervision and of sufficient maturity may well be able to break this rule without consequences, but the effect of weakening the rule because an individual asserts their right to ignore it should not be ignored. Does your sons ‘right’ to take part in Second Life justify putting someone else’s child at risk?

    Responsible behaviour as parents includes ensuring that our children understand that the fabric of society is quite weak and, while it can and should be stretched, it breaks easily.

    Dave

  11. Dave: so keep other kids’ children out of it, then. Anyone who meets my son realizes he’s damn mature for his age.

    I guess you’re part of the society that says that 18-year-olds should be able to go to war in Iraq, but they shouldn’t be allowed to gamble in Vegas, or drink a beer.

    Who are we protecting with stupid rules like that?

  12. Dave: so keep other kids’ children out of it, then. Anyone who meets my son realizes he’s damn mature for his age.

    I guess you’re part of the society that says that 18-year-olds should be able to go to war in Iraq, but they shouldn’t be allowed to gamble in Vegas, or drink a beer.

    Who are we protecting with stupid rules like that?

  13. Until 1945, rules, whether they came from religious or secular law, were seen as being the only thing that held society together.

    Then the ‘age of deference’ began to die when rules imposed ‘top down’ were seen to be the reason for the old ‘Imperially ruled’ society tearing itself apart.

    The US never felt that what caused the war had torn it apart, because its systems were based upon less arbitrarily imposed rules.

    The US, despite being the cultural birthplace of the ‘rengade hero’ role model, such as ‘the cowboy’ and even the ‘ethical maverick’ characters played by Bogart, has a love affair with old-fashioned deference which has paradoxically made it the least Amercanised of the former European colonies.

  14. Until 1945, rules, whether they came from religious or secular law, were seen as being the only thing that held society together.

    Then the ‘age of deference’ began to die when rules imposed ‘top down’ were seen to be the reason for the old ‘Imperially ruled’ society tearing itself apart.

    The US never felt that what caused the war had torn it apart, because its systems were based upon less arbitrarily imposed rules.

    The US, despite being the cultural birthplace of the ‘rengade hero’ role model, such as ‘the cowboy’ and even the ‘ethical maverick’ characters played by Bogart, has a love affair with old-fashioned deference which has paradoxically made it the least Amercanised of the former European colonies.

  15. Some of the strategies to prove your an adult on the Internet make sense. For example kids don’t have credit cards. But how do you prove your a kid? I guess you could have a proven adult sign you up. Err …then that very adult cannot come into the space. So the space is supposed to be a safe place where predators can’t get at your children …. Not! Where do they get these unenforceable rules?

  16. Some of the strategies to prove your an adult on the Internet make sense. For example kids don’t have credit cards. But how do you prove your a kid? I guess you could have a proven adult sign you up. Err …then that very adult cannot come into the space. So the space is supposed to be a safe place where predators can’t get at your children …. Not! Where do they get these unenforceable rules?

  17. Seth is 100% right. I was talking with a Lt. of the local cybercrimes division here in Tulsa. He said these “kids” only areas on the net are clearly and well-defined areas to be TARGETED.

    Virtual worlds (of which the www is the vast equivalent of the universe) should not be segregated because avatars cannot presently be discerned without some reliable form of identification.

    Passport or Verisign or any cert authority could conceivably solve this… but, then why give it the time of day? Is is really a problem that should be solved? I’m looking at my middle youngun on the couch and think the answer is… yeah, it should. Though I’m not rabidly supportive.

    Mr. Scoble makes a great point also on the disconnects in our US society. Soldiering, drinking and gambling for instance. I remember those three years between registering for the draft and then “waiting” to buy a beer – legally. Ahem… Someone said it best a long time ago… Rules are made for breaking. That’s how all this silly “Don’t ask, don’t tell” business came about. Rules… Oh, those aren’t really RULES! ;)

  18. Seth is 100% right. I was talking with a Lt. of the local cybercrimes division here in Tulsa. He said these “kids” only areas on the net are clearly and well-defined areas to be TARGETED.

    Virtual worlds (of which the www is the vast equivalent of the universe) should not be segregated because avatars cannot presently be discerned without some reliable form of identification.

    Passport or Verisign or any cert authority could conceivably solve this… but, then why give it the time of day? Is is really a problem that should be solved? I’m looking at my middle youngun on the couch and think the answer is… yeah, it should. Though I’m not rabidly supportive.

    Mr. Scoble makes a great point also on the disconnects in our US society. Soldiering, drinking and gambling for instance. I remember those three years between registering for the draft and then “waiting” to buy a beer – legally. Ahem… Someone said it best a long time ago… Rules are made for breaking. That’s how all this silly “Don’t ask, don’t tell” business came about. Rules… Oh, those aren’t really RULES! ;)

  19. Robert, You’re missing my point, and making sweeping (and wrong) assumptions about me into the bargain. Also, I’m from Europe, specifically the UK, so I probably know more about society here than you do.

    I’m not commenting on whether your son is or isn’t mature enough to deal with what he sees in Second Life. A glib “Well keep other kids out of it then” doesn’t cut it. Not all parents are as responsible as you are, and not all children who get access to online services will be as well supervised as yours. Those children need protection, and it is the duty of society as a whole to protect them. If that places some restrictions on those that would be properly supervised and be able to cope then that is just the price responsible people pay for being part of a compassionate society. Your attitude may go some way to explaining why America has one of the most starking split societies in the industrial world.

    With regard to your Iraq comment. In the UK you can vote, drink, and gamble at 18. You can join the army at 16 and, possibly, be sent off to war. However, like America you have to volunteer for the army and should be aware of what you might get yourself into. When there was a draft the argument that people could be old enough to be sent off to be killed in the service of a country which would not let them gamble or drink had some validity, but for you to argue that volunteers, who know the possible consequences of their actions, are in some way being discriminated against seems to have no logic at all.

    Dave

  20. Robert, You’re missing my point, and making sweeping (and wrong) assumptions about me into the bargain. Also, I’m from Europe, specifically the UK, so I probably know more about society here than you do.

    I’m not commenting on whether your son is or isn’t mature enough to deal with what he sees in Second Life. A glib “Well keep other kids out of it then” doesn’t cut it. Not all parents are as responsible as you are, and not all children who get access to online services will be as well supervised as yours. Those children need protection, and it is the duty of society as a whole to protect them. If that places some restrictions on those that would be properly supervised and be able to cope then that is just the price responsible people pay for being part of a compassionate society. Your attitude may go some way to explaining why America has one of the most starking split societies in the industrial world.

    With regard to your Iraq comment. In the UK you can vote, drink, and gamble at 18. You can join the army at 16 and, possibly, be sent off to war. However, like America you have to volunteer for the army and should be aware of what you might get yourself into. When there was a draft the argument that people could be old enough to be sent off to be killed in the service of a country which would not let them gamble or drink had some validity, but for you to argue that volunteers, who know the possible consequences of their actions, are in some way being discriminated against seems to have no logic at all.

    Dave

  21. Dave: my mom is German, so I know a bit about their society and the dangers of rules that are followed blindly.

    In Germany, today, though, you can drink a beer if your parents let you. Not in America, though. Nosiree.

    Well, glad to see that America isn’t the only place that has folks who want to force other people to live the way they think they should live.

    By the way, what is dangerous about witnessing a sex act or playing a little Poker? Even if you are a 12-year-old?

    My son watches sex acts at the zoo. When he was four we saw millions of ladybugs doing the wild thing.

    I guess watching Elephants screw isn’t hurtful, but watching virtual avatars do it in Second Life is gonna scar him for life.

    And, you don’t see the irony that an 18-year-old can voluntarily head to go off to a foreign land to kill people (or be killed) but he can’t voluntarily head to the lcoal bar to buy a beer or a glass of wine?

    Sigh.

  22. Dave: my mom is German, so I know a bit about their society and the dangers of rules that are followed blindly.

    In Germany, today, though, you can drink a beer if your parents let you. Not in America, though. Nosiree.

    Well, glad to see that America isn’t the only place that has folks who want to force other people to live the way they think they should live.

    By the way, what is dangerous about witnessing a sex act or playing a little Poker? Even if you are a 12-year-old?

    My son watches sex acts at the zoo. When he was four we saw millions of ladybugs doing the wild thing.

    I guess watching Elephants screw isn’t hurtful, but watching virtual avatars do it in Second Life is gonna scar him for life.

    And, you don’t see the irony that an 18-year-old can voluntarily head to go off to a foreign land to kill people (or be killed) but he can’t voluntarily head to the lcoal bar to buy a beer or a glass of wine?

    Sigh.

  23. “Our puritanical society”

    Our society is no longer puritanical. It is evangelical; it is sometimes fundamentalist.

    But more appropriate to your point here, it is also litigious. I would bet $100 that the people who don’t want Patrick to play are not the moral/spiritual watchdogs of SL, but SL’s legal bodyguards. They are the virtual bouncers.

    (Bouncers don’t keep underage kids out of clubs for moral or “religious” reasons. They do it to maximize profits and limit legal exposure.)

    Our society *is* dominated by religious forces, but those forces do not police us. Instead, the religious forces just lobby to pass laws, and our own lawyers police us. An ingenious system wherein nobody is fully accountable.

  24. “Our puritanical society”

    Our society is no longer puritanical. It is evangelical; it is sometimes fundamentalist.

    But more appropriate to your point here, it is also litigious. I would bet $100 that the people who don’t want Patrick to play are not the moral/spiritual watchdogs of SL, but SL’s legal bodyguards. They are the virtual bouncers.

    (Bouncers don’t keep underage kids out of clubs for moral or “religious” reasons. They do it to maximize profits and limit legal exposure.)

    Our society *is* dominated by religious forces, but those forces do not police us. Instead, the religious forces just lobby to pass laws, and our own lawyers police us. An ingenious system wherein nobody is fully accountable.

  25. Patrick: absolutely right.

    The funny thing (or really, not so funny) is of all the predatory behavior that happens on children, most of it happens between people either in the home already or who are invited in by parents. Teachers. YMCA coaches. Priests and pastors. And others who are trusted by the family.

    I know that, so I try to give Patrick skills and confidence to resist predatory behavior no matter where it happens.

  26. Patrick: absolutely right.

    The funny thing (or really, not so funny) is of all the predatory behavior that happens on children, most of it happens between people either in the home already or who are invited in by parents. Teachers. YMCA coaches. Priests and pastors. And others who are trusted by the family.

    I know that, so I try to give Patrick skills and confidence to resist predatory behavior no matter where it happens.

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

    If you don’t mind your son being “virtually” molested and sodomized, have at it, I say it. He “virtually” won’t notice.

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

    If you don’t mind your son being “virtually” molested and sodomized, have at it, I say it. He “virtually” won’t notice.

  29. Hasn’t the proliferation of internet predators taught us anything about the risks allow minors free reighn? LIke Dave said, Scoble, not every parent is as irrespon–er I mean “responsible” as you are. Sure, yea! Let’s let kids do whatever they want, provided their parents are aware of what they are doing. How much alcohol can your kid handle? Are you going to supervised that, see what the limit is, then ensure he doesn’t cross it? Yea,I’ll just hand my 15 year old a condom and “trust” that he will always us it.

    Or do you plan to be there everytime he has sex to make sure he is practicing safe sex? Are you going to ensure your 15 daughter takes her pill every day? And let’s let them snort only one line of coke. As long as I’m there supervising, I guess it’s okay.

    As for your War/Drinking age argument, read a history book and blame MADD for that. It was your very “can kill but can’t drink” argument during the Vietnam War that led to 30 States lowering the drinking age to 18 (some were 19) starting around 1970 – 75. Then MADD began pressuring the Fed Govt to mandate a national drinking age of 21 based on studies that show teenage alcoholism to be rising (where were these parents?????). So, MADD got the Fed to withhold fed highway funding to any state that didn’t raise the minimum drinking age to 21. Statistics did show a rise in drunk driving accidents and fatalities started to rise as the drinking age lowered. (Or are you going to be you son’s designated driver everywhere he goes?) So, to be in favor of lowering drinking age would put you at odds with MADD. Do you want to be opposed to MADD? I can see it now: “Scoble against MADD” ;-) .

    In short, the fact that you think you can give your son the skills to protect himself doesn’t assume that every other parent can. Thus, Dave is right, society needs certain laws to protect the rest of society. I’m not sure I want to be picking up the bill for rises in teenage pregnancies, increased drunk driving, and rampant drug use because a few parents think they are “responsible”.

    Of course protection from legal action is a major factor. Because if one of my family members is killed because some “responsible parent” thought it was okay for their kid to drink and that kid was at some club or party and briefly “forgot” everything their “responsible parent” taught them, you’re damn right I’m going to sue everyone involved in exposing that minor to alcholol.

  30. Hasn’t the proliferation of internet predators taught us anything about the risks allow minors free reighn? LIke Dave said, Scoble, not every parent is as irrespon–er I mean “responsible” as you are. Sure, yea! Let’s let kids do whatever they want, provided their parents are aware of what they are doing. How much alcohol can your kid handle? Are you going to supervised that, see what the limit is, then ensure he doesn’t cross it? Yea,I’ll just hand my 15 year old a condom and “trust” that he will always us it.

    Or do you plan to be there everytime he has sex to make sure he is practicing safe sex? Are you going to ensure your 15 daughter takes her pill every day? And let’s let them snort only one line of coke. As long as I’m there supervising, I guess it’s okay.

    As for your War/Drinking age argument, read a history book and blame MADD for that. It was your very “can kill but can’t drink” argument during the Vietnam War that led to 30 States lowering the drinking age to 18 (some were 19) starting around 1970 – 75. Then MADD began pressuring the Fed Govt to mandate a national drinking age of 21 based on studies that show teenage alcoholism to be rising (where were these parents?????). So, MADD got the Fed to withhold fed highway funding to any state that didn’t raise the minimum drinking age to 21. Statistics did show a rise in drunk driving accidents and fatalities started to rise as the drinking age lowered. (Or are you going to be you son’s designated driver everywhere he goes?) So, to be in favor of lowering drinking age would put you at odds with MADD. Do you want to be opposed to MADD? I can see it now: “Scoble against MADD” ;-) .

    In short, the fact that you think you can give your son the skills to protect himself doesn’t assume that every other parent can. Thus, Dave is right, society needs certain laws to protect the rest of society. I’m not sure I want to be picking up the bill for rises in teenage pregnancies, increased drunk driving, and rampant drug use because a few parents think they are “responsible”.

    Of course protection from legal action is a major factor. Because if one of my family members is killed because some “responsible parent” thought it was okay for their kid to drink and that kid was at some club or party and briefly “forgot” everything their “responsible parent” taught them, you’re damn right I’m going to sue everyone involved in exposing that minor to alcholol.

  31. Good show Scoble, I like your attitude towards parenting. My parents raised me in a similar fashion and it let my mind flourish because I could start thinking about art, film, knowledge, instead of: “hmmm I wonder what this thing between my legs is, and I need to get some of that awesome stuff that I can’t have until I’m 21.”

    I’m 19 years old and I regularly enjoy a beer with my folks at dinner, have been for a few years. I’ve had girls spend the night, but the best thing they could have done for me was answer my questions like an adult. I never heard of the bird and the bees or the stork until I entered the later levels of grade school, but I knew what sex and pregnancy was from my parents.

    Good show!

    PS: I spent the first 6 years of my life in Romania, then came to the USA

  32. Good show Scoble, I like your attitude towards parenting. My parents raised me in a similar fashion and it let my mind flourish because I could start thinking about art, film, knowledge, instead of: “hmmm I wonder what this thing between my legs is, and I need to get some of that awesome stuff that I can’t have until I’m 21.”

    I’m 19 years old and I regularly enjoy a beer with my folks at dinner, have been for a few years. I’ve had girls spend the night, but the best thing they could have done for me was answer my questions like an adult. I never heard of the bird and the bees or the stork until I entered the later levels of grade school, but I knew what sex and pregnancy was from my parents.

    Good show!

    PS: I spent the first 6 years of my life in Romania, then came to the USA

  33. Speaking as an Evangelical, I just wanted to point out that not all Evangelicals are alike. Some are what you see and hear on TV. Others of us are quite liberal (from the other Christian’s point of view) in many areas, deeming that it’s not *our* job to judge others on God’s earth, and that it’s a job we’re wholly unqualified for.

    Robert: You might get a kick out of this (as in roll your eyes like I did). I remember seeing some gadget in a Christian store where it would bleep out “offensive words” you’d hear on a movie or TV. My wife and I saw it at the same time and mockingly commented on how, “Now, you can watch all the senseless violence you want without having to hear those awful curse words.”

    And my fellow Christians wonder why people look at us like we have 8 heads…

  34. Speaking as an Evangelical, I just wanted to point out that not all Evangelicals are alike. Some are what you see and hear on TV. Others of us are quite liberal (from the other Christian’s point of view) in many areas, deeming that it’s not *our* job to judge others on God’s earth, and that it’s a job we’re wholly unqualified for.

    Robert: You might get a kick out of this (as in roll your eyes like I did). I remember seeing some gadget in a Christian store where it would bleep out “offensive words” you’d hear on a movie or TV. My wife and I saw it at the same time and mockingly commented on how, “Now, you can watch all the senseless violence you want without having to hear those awful curse words.”

    And my fellow Christians wonder why people look at us like we have 8 heads…

  35. Some age restrictions on services like Second Life aren’t just the whim of the service provider. There are several federal laws in the US regulating how Internet services are allowed to interact with individuals under 13 years old and individuals 13-17 years old. (COPA, CIPA, etc.) Compliance with these laws can actually impact the architecture of services and how they’re offered, and often the easiest way to comply is to say “no” to anyone under 13 and to offer a separate, restricted service for anyone 13-17.

  36. Some age restrictions on services like Second Life aren’t just the whim of the service provider. There are several federal laws in the US regulating how Internet services are allowed to interact with individuals under 13 years old and individuals 13-17 years old. (COPA, CIPA, etc.) Compliance with these laws can actually impact the architecture of services and how they’re offered, and often the easiest way to comply is to say “no” to anyone under 13 and to offer a separate, restricted service for anyone 13-17.

  37. Robert, please note the last part of my first message, what makes you think I want you to live your life the way I do? Why do you think I expect rules to be followed blindly? Outdated rules can, and should, be changed. The rules we’re talking about here though, aren’t outdated.

    You ask what is wrong with a 13 year old seeing some sex or playing poker; absolutely nothing in the right context and with the right understanding. But what if a 13 year old wandering unsupervised in the virtual, or real, world gets the impression that 13 year olds having sex, or playing poker, with adults is the natural way of things? Is that acceptable?

    Man, like every other animal, learns by example and experience. There needs to be a safety net for those children whose parents cannot, for whatever reason, support this process appropriately.

    With regard to the drinking and killing stuff. I don’t see any irony there because they are unconnected circumstances. The ages for both are fairly arbitrary and vary around the world, I assume that they’re driven by cultural experience in most cases. Society has lots of rules, many of them arbitrary. It’s difficult to know how else to make some of them.

    How many more deaths from drunken driving would result from lowering the drinking age in the US to 18? How would that number compare to the number killed in action? How many more girls would be raped because they had a couple too many and were unlucky enough to run into a predator? Is losing the ‘irony’ worth the cost?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions, but unlike you I would not presume to try to answer on behalf of the rest of society.

    I did not really get into this discussion to talk about specific rules and whether they can be justified. My issue is that you seem to feel that societies rules can be broken by any individual that feels they have the right to do so because they know better. Man is an animal with a thin veneer of civilisation on top. Societies rules, for the most part, are there to protect us by protecting that veneer. Your lack of understanding of this is truly scary.

    For the record, I am not religious, indeed I don’t believe in God.

    Dave

  38. Robert, please note the last part of my first message, what makes you think I want you to live your life the way I do? Why do you think I expect rules to be followed blindly? Outdated rules can, and should, be changed. The rules we’re talking about here though, aren’t outdated.

    You ask what is wrong with a 13 year old seeing some sex or playing poker; absolutely nothing in the right context and with the right understanding. But what if a 13 year old wandering unsupervised in the virtual, or real, world gets the impression that 13 year olds having sex, or playing poker, with adults is the natural way of things? Is that acceptable?

    Man, like every other animal, learns by example and experience. There needs to be a safety net for those children whose parents cannot, for whatever reason, support this process appropriately.

    With regard to the drinking and killing stuff. I don’t see any irony there because they are unconnected circumstances. The ages for both are fairly arbitrary and vary around the world, I assume that they’re driven by cultural experience in most cases. Society has lots of rules, many of them arbitrary. It’s difficult to know how else to make some of them.

    How many more deaths from drunken driving would result from lowering the drinking age in the US to 18? How would that number compare to the number killed in action? How many more girls would be raped because they had a couple too many and were unlucky enough to run into a predator? Is losing the ‘irony’ worth the cost?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions, but unlike you I would not presume to try to answer on behalf of the rest of society.

    I did not really get into this discussion to talk about specific rules and whether they can be justified. My issue is that you seem to feel that societies rules can be broken by any individual that feels they have the right to do so because they know better. Man is an animal with a thin veneer of civilisation on top. Societies rules, for the most part, are there to protect us by protecting that veneer. Your lack of understanding of this is truly scary.

    For the record, I am not religious, indeed I don’t believe in God.

    Dave

  39. Not trying to start a flame war. But one thing I don’t get is the

    >>>How many more deaths from drunken driving would result from lowering the drinking age in the US to 18? How would that number compare to the number killed in action? How many more girls would be raped because they had a couple too many and were unlucky enough to run into a predator? Is losing the ‘irony’ worth the cost?

  40. Not trying to start a flame war. But one thing I don’t get is the

    >>>How many more deaths from drunken driving would result from lowering the drinking age in the US to 18? How would that number compare to the number killed in action? How many more girls would be raped because they had a couple too many and were unlucky enough to run into a predator? Is losing the ‘irony’ worth the cost?

  41. (Was cut off, sorry)

    statements. I mean, really, as long as people are drinking, going to war, putting themselves in dangerous positions, it doesn’t matter how old you are. A 35 year old woman who is a lush at the bar every night might well end up in the same position as an 18 year old. One doesn’t magically mature on their 21st birthday (I sure didn’t… But your mileage might vary).

    I think it’s not irony that is in need of being lost: consistency needs to be gained. If you are deemed irresponsible for your own actions at 19, then you shouldn’t be voting. You shouldn’t be drinking. You shouldn’t be volunteering yourself to be killed in the next battle in the war on terror. If it is 18 years old, so be it.

    I might well just shut up, if someone can point out to me that the research and data that says that 17 year olds shouldn’t be able to vote due to maturity, but 18 year should. Same for the 21 year olds and drinking. I’d be even more impressed is someone can show me that Congress was primarily motivated by these studies when making these dates.

    I also should point out that years ago in this country, “a man was a man” often before the age of 18. At 16 and 17, men left to make their own way. Women married well below the age of 18 as well, often to men who were established in their careers (30 – 40 year olds). Go read Little Women, if you don’t believe me.. ;) Or better yet, other literature of the time. I say this, not in the defense of predators, rather, to promote that age is relative and question what has caused us to be so fragile in our public view towards teenagers. Which really didn’t exist in the modern sense until well after the Second World War and the expanse of the American Education system.

    All this to say, people need to be held responsible for their own actions. Gee.. Saturday. I need to get a life.

  42. (Was cut off, sorry)

    statements. I mean, really, as long as people are drinking, going to war, putting themselves in dangerous positions, it doesn’t matter how old you are. A 35 year old woman who is a lush at the bar every night might well end up in the same position as an 18 year old. One doesn’t magically mature on their 21st birthday (I sure didn’t… But your mileage might vary).

    I think it’s not irony that is in need of being lost: consistency needs to be gained. If you are deemed irresponsible for your own actions at 19, then you shouldn’t be voting. You shouldn’t be drinking. You shouldn’t be volunteering yourself to be killed in the next battle in the war on terror. If it is 18 years old, so be it.

    I might well just shut up, if someone can point out to me that the research and data that says that 17 year olds shouldn’t be able to vote due to maturity, but 18 year should. Same for the 21 year olds and drinking. I’d be even more impressed is someone can show me that Congress was primarily motivated by these studies when making these dates.

    I also should point out that years ago in this country, “a man was a man” often before the age of 18. At 16 and 17, men left to make their own way. Women married well below the age of 18 as well, often to men who were established in their careers (30 – 40 year olds). Go read Little Women, if you don’t believe me.. ;) Or better yet, other literature of the time. I say this, not in the defense of predators, rather, to promote that age is relative and question what has caused us to be so fragile in our public view towards teenagers. Which really didn’t exist in the modern sense until well after the Second World War and the expanse of the American Education system.

    All this to say, people need to be held responsible for their own actions. Gee.. Saturday. I need to get a life.

  43. Robert, very sharp arguments. Indeed, if person is given authority to make decision of ULTIMATE importance – taking somebody life – not giving him authority (and derived responsibility) for everything else is, to put it mildly, insane.

    Couple of thoughts: I pondered about this curious discrepancy in countries laws a few times – they are quite noticeable for expat. Here is my highly un-scientific provocative theory :) Laws always reflect the social “obsessions” of given populace.

    in Russia, which was always obsessed with concept of “power”, not surprisingly the most draconian laws are about gun ownership. Sex stuff is almost complete don’t care from legal standpoint in RU (to much rejoice of Moscow foreign visitors). Take Japan, another power-obsessed land of ex-Samurai: what is age of consent there, 10? Germany – right, strictest laws are about Nazi symbolism.

    The draconian sex laws in US simply show what is the “obsession” of local population is :)

  44. Robert, very sharp arguments. Indeed, if person is given authority to make decision of ULTIMATE importance – taking somebody life – not giving him authority (and derived responsibility) for everything else is, to put it mildly, insane.

    Couple of thoughts: I pondered about this curious discrepancy in countries laws a few times – they are quite noticeable for expat. Here is my highly un-scientific provocative theory :) Laws always reflect the social “obsessions” of given populace.

    in Russia, which was always obsessed with concept of “power”, not surprisingly the most draconian laws are about gun ownership. Sex stuff is almost complete don’t care from legal standpoint in RU (to much rejoice of Moscow foreign visitors). Take Japan, another power-obsessed land of ex-Samurai: what is age of consent there, 10? Germany – right, strictest laws are about Nazi symbolism.

    The draconian sex laws in US simply show what is the “obsession” of local population is :)

  45. Robert, you were doing so well basically sticking to what you’re paid to do…evangelize about technology. If you expose a child to so much at such a young age, you leave nothing for the future. Not only that but kids like yours end up filling the minds of those kids whose parents worked hard to maintain proper boundaries with nothing but complete crap. I know so many people that had very little boundaries as teens and now they seek excitement and pleasure in more disturbing ways. Believe it or not, most of those people admit it takes more and more to satisfy them. Like how one cup of coffee doesn’t wake you up like it used to before. Do us all a favor and leave your parenting skills or lack thereof out of it. I would appreciate it (along with others who read you, especially your employer) if you would just stick to technology.

  46. Robert, you were doing so well basically sticking to what you’re paid to do…evangelize about technology. If you expose a child to so much at such a young age, you leave nothing for the future. Not only that but kids like yours end up filling the minds of those kids whose parents worked hard to maintain proper boundaries with nothing but complete crap. I know so many people that had very little boundaries as teens and now they seek excitement and pleasure in more disturbing ways. Believe it or not, most of those people admit it takes more and more to satisfy them. Like how one cup of coffee doesn’t wake you up like it used to before. Do us all a favor and leave your parenting skills or lack thereof out of it. I would appreciate it (along with others who read you, especially your employer) if you would just stick to technology.

  47. @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.

  48. @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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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

  52. 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

  53. “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.

  54. “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.

  55. @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.

  56. @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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. “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.

  60. “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.

  61. @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.

  62. @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.

  63. “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.

  64. “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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. [...] Robert Scoble, who I feel like I know yet I’ve barely met (only briefly when he signed my copy of Naked Conversations at said party). Why? Because he’s real. He’s a real guy talking about real things, Microsoft-related and not. Thank you for being bold, brave, honest and forthright. Thank you for opening up our tech/business/shareholder value-driven world to something more important: life itself. And thank you for taking time to spend with us today, so close to the time that you left your Mom. I hope you and I get the chance to sit down together someday soon. [...]

  70. 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)

  71. 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)

  72. 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”?

  73. 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”?

  74. 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

  75. 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

  76. 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.

  77. 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.