Your Second Sex Life

Nicole Simon (who will be in London this week, we’ll see her at the Firefox party) compares how American media and German media talk about Second Life. Her diagnosis? American media doesn’t talk about the sex.

In other Second Life news, GigaOM writes about virtual sweat shops that build and do other things.

Me? I gotta cancel my account. I haven’t been in Second Life since they told my son he wasn’t welcome, but I’ve been paying my monthly fee.

Comments

  1. Robert, they didn’t tell you your son wasn’t welcome. They told you that your son wasn’t allowed to use their online service, due to the terms of service they implement, WHICH THEY ARE REQUIRED TO IMPLEMENT BY LAW. You ALWAYS neglect to mention that part. There are data-retention-and-deletion laws in the United States that are extremely onerous for service providers to abide by if they wish to provide access to people under the age of 13.

    You don’t get to have a say in whether the service provider needs to abide by these laws, and the service providers certainly don’t get to have a say in whether they abide by them. They can either choose to abide by the law and incur all the costs and complexity of doing so, or they can choose not to provide services to those under 13. Part of the latter means strictly enforcing age limits.

    If you want Second Life’s policy to change, you can’t just badmouth Linden Lab. You need to either convince Linden Lab that it would be in their economic interest to allow under-13 members – including the costs of implementing the necessary data retention and deletion mechanisms – or you need to convince Congress to change the law or mount a court challenge to it.

    Badmouthing Linden Lab for something that’s not fundamentally in their control just makes you look like a jackass.

  2. Robert, they didn’t tell you your son wasn’t welcome. They told you that your son wasn’t allowed to use their online service, due to the terms of service they implement, WHICH THEY ARE REQUIRED TO IMPLEMENT BY LAW. You ALWAYS neglect to mention that part. There are data-retention-and-deletion laws in the United States that are extremely onerous for service providers to abide by if they wish to provide access to people under the age of 13.

    You don’t get to have a say in whether the service provider needs to abide by these laws, and the service providers certainly don’t get to have a say in whether they abide by them. They can either choose to abide by the law and incur all the costs and complexity of doing so, or they can choose not to provide services to those under 13. Part of the latter means strictly enforcing age limits.

    If you want Second Life’s policy to change, you can’t just badmouth Linden Lab. You need to either convince Linden Lab that it would be in their economic interest to allow under-13 members – including the costs of implementing the necessary data retention and deletion mechanisms – or you need to convince Congress to change the law or mount a court challenge to it.

    Badmouthing Linden Lab for something that’s not fundamentally in their control just makes you look like a jackass.

  3. Robert, *you* are welcome to visit Second Life anytime (assuming you didn’t get expelled, which it sounds like you didn’t, since you still get a monthly bill).

    You are someone who tries to stay in touch with all the important things going on in the tech world. Second Life is one of them.

    So forgive Linden Lab (who are just obeying the law) and come see some of the amazing things happening.

    Hint: Amazing things abound… a veritable gold mine for someone with your talents.

  4. Robert, *you* are welcome to visit Second Life anytime (assuming you didn’t get expelled, which it sounds like you didn’t, since you still get a monthly bill).

    You are someone who tries to stay in touch with all the important things going on in the tech world. Second Life is one of them.

    So forgive Linden Lab (who are just obeying the law) and come see some of the amazing things happening.

    Hint: Amazing things abound… a veritable gold mine for someone with your talents.

  5. Your blog title cracks me up.

    Why American media don’t talk much sex? We can’t even get our American kids to improve their English, Math and Science level. It is a shame to say Americans have such high level of High School drop out rate.

    American media is doing the right thing. Not until Americans can improve our education standard and system, let’s make sure those young kids focus on finishing high school, staying away from drugs, pregnancies and crimes.

    Most tech folks on this blog pass the basic Math and Science programs. We can continue to joke about Victoria’s Secret here. Ha ha…

  6. Your blog title cracks me up.

    Why American media don’t talk much sex? We can’t even get our American kids to improve their English, Math and Science level. It is a shame to say Americans have such high level of High School drop out rate.

    American media is doing the right thing. Not until Americans can improve our education standard and system, let’s make sure those young kids focus on finishing high school, staying away from drugs, pregnancies and crimes.

    Most tech folks on this blog pass the basic Math and Science programs. We can continue to joke about Victoria’s Secret here. Ha ha…

  7. They dont talk about the sex.

    You could blame centuries of American Christendom.

    Or, as Democrats love to do, blame a reaction to Janet Jackson.

    But this is missing the more fun and more fair option.
    Blame Janet Jackson. Weirdest. Family. Ever. They’ve undermined America more than America has undermined and rightly assumed any responsibility for them.

    Self-Censorship. Brought to you EXCLUSIVELY by Moonves, Redstone and MTV!

  8. I’m missing the part where you badmouth anybody? Several comments seem overly sensitive. You stated the fact. Your son is not permitted to use your account.

    I would certainly stop paying for something I wasn’t using, especially when you can start again later if you wish.

    I don’t see the attraction either … I guess different virtual strokes for different real folks.

  9. They dont talk about the sex.

    You could blame centuries of American Christendom.

    Or, as Democrats love to do, blame a reaction to Janet Jackson.

    But this is missing the more fun and more fair option.
    Blame Janet Jackson. Weirdest. Family. Ever. They’ve undermined America more than America has undermined and rightly assumed any responsibility for them.

    Self-Censorship. Brought to you EXCLUSIVELY by Moonves, Redstone and MTV!

  10. I’m missing the part where you badmouth anybody? Several comments seem overly sensitive. You stated the fact. Your son is not permitted to use your account.

    I would certainly stop paying for something I wasn’t using, especially when you can start again later if you wish.

    I don’t see the attraction either … I guess different virtual strokes for different real folks.

  11. Chris: my son is welcome on every other service so that “required by law” part is total bullshit.

    They made a business choice to make their service adult-only. I don’t like that choice. So, I’m not going to hang out there.

  12. Chris: my son is welcome on every other service so that “required by law” part is total bullshit.

    They made a business choice to make their service adult-only. I don’t like that choice. So, I’m not going to hang out there.

  13. Robert, you’re quite wrong. Your son is *not* welcome on “every other service.” (For one, the .Mac terms of service require members to be at least 13 years old.) There *is* a law regulating companies that provide commercial online services that can be accessed by people under 13.

    Don’t just cry bullshit because you don’t like what you’re being told. Do some bloody research for once in your life.

    The law in question is the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” and there’s an overview article at Wikipedia about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Online_Privacy_Protection_Act

    What it specifically regulates is the collection of information from people under 13 and the use of that information. According to an MSNBC article linked from Wikipedia, Xanga was fined US$1M just a couple months ago for COPPA violations.

  14. Robert, you’re quite wrong. Your son is *not* welcome on “every other service.” (For one, the .Mac terms of service require members to be at least 13 years old.) There *is* a law regulating companies that provide commercial online services that can be accessed by people under 13.

    Don’t just cry bullshit because you don’t like what you’re being told. Do some bloody research for once in your life.

    The law in question is the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” and there’s an overview article at Wikipedia about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children%27s_Online_Privacy_Protection_Act

    What it specifically regulates is the collection of information from people under 13 and the use of that information. According to an MSNBC article linked from Wikipedia, Xanga was fined US$1M just a couple months ago for COPPA violations.

  15. My son will be 13 in a month. He still is not welcome in the Second Life that I’m allowed in (I’m not allowed in the part that he’s allowed in when he’s 13).
    Again, this isn’t about the 13 restriction. It’s about not allowing anyone under 18 to interact with anyone over 18.
    I’m looking for things to do with my son. Second Life would be one of those things, but it’s impossible for us to use together because of the business decisions they made. So, we’ve switched to doing other things. No one on the Xbox team argues for keeping Patrick out of Xbox Live.

  16. My son will be 13 in a month. He still is not welcome in the Second Life that I’m allowed in (I’m not allowed in the part that he’s allowed in when he’s 13).
    Again, this isn’t about the 13 restriction. It’s about not allowing anyone under 18 to interact with anyone over 18.
    I’m looking for things to do with my son. Second Life would be one of those things, but it’s impossible for us to use together because of the business decisions they made. So, we’ve switched to doing other things. No one on the Xbox team argues for keeping Patrick out of Xbox Live.

  17. [...] Questo post di Robert Scoble (ed i relativi link) confermano i miei sospetti su cosa rappresenti una delle attrattive principali di Second Life. Era lo stesso, anche se forse meno organizzato dal punto di vista commerciale, in The Sims Online e non è un caso che a raccontare il lato oscuro di questi mondi virtuali sia, da anni, lo stesso magazine online. Technorati tags: second life scoble sesso sex alphaville herald Segnala:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  18. This is true Robert, Patrick isn’t allowed on the main grid after he’s 13, only the teen grid. Rules for 13+.

    Things you might not know:
    Some very innovative teens are working on fascinating commerce bridges between grids, complete with support from their parents– I had a great conversation with a teen and his parent on the street in San Francisco– nothing was violated in the TOS.

    Also, there are plenty who believe that segregation of ages makes little sense– especially in the context of online gaming spaces. Joi Ito is one; I’m another. I don’t see limitations in other places.. It’s 13 and up. And yeah the .Mac commenter had a point.

    The productive thing might be to evangelize and drive change instead of throwing in the towel.

    Not taking ‘no’ for an answer? Isn’t that why we blog or podcast or vlog?

  19. This is true Robert, Patrick isn’t allowed on the main grid after he’s 13, only the teen grid. Rules for 13+.

    Things you might not know:
    Some very innovative teens are working on fascinating commerce bridges between grids, complete with support from their parents– I had a great conversation with a teen and his parent on the street in San Francisco– nothing was violated in the TOS.

    Also, there are plenty who believe that segregation of ages makes little sense– especially in the context of online gaming spaces. Joi Ito is one; I’m another. I don’t see limitations in other places.. It’s 13 and up. And yeah the .Mac commenter had a point.

    The productive thing might be to evangelize and drive change instead of throwing in the towel.

    Not taking ‘no’ for an answer? Isn’t that why we blog or podcast or vlog?

  20. “Not taking ‘no’ for an answer? Isn’t that why we blog or podcast or vlog?”

    Sure is. It’s also why you don’t stop blogging when the NY Times or some other paper refuses to print your letter. Robert’s goal was to spend time with his sone, I would guess via a digital medium, and he’s doing that with XBox and XBox Live. SecondLifers have got to learn there’s a whole Internet out there beyond SL, and so does Linden Lab for that matter.

  21. “Not taking ‘no’ for an answer? Isn’t that why we blog or podcast or vlog?”

    Sure is. It’s also why you don’t stop blogging when the NY Times or some other paper refuses to print your letter. Robert’s goal was to spend time with his sone, I would guess via a digital medium, and he’s doing that with XBox and XBox Live. SecondLifers have got to learn there’s a whole Internet out there beyond SL, and so does Linden Lab for that matter.

  22. [...] Spotted an interesting discussion this morning over on Robert Scoble’s blog. The starting point is an article I’ve previously linked to (Second Life Escorts – the real industry behind Second Life), but Robert’s post on Your Second Sex Life has turned into a discussion on the age limit of 13 (for the Teen Grid) and 18 for The [Main] Grid. Reading back, it appears that Scoble is upset because he and his son can’t hang out in the same place in Second Life (his son is restricted to the Teen Grid, and Scoble himself to the main grid) and he’s not happy. [...]

  23. Robert, I’m a Second Life sex worker. Unlike real life, there’s no way I can visually check to see the RL age of the person that walks into the place where I work and asks to do something very, very bad indeed.

    Now in my country, if the police found out, I could be arrested. The fact that the child asked me for sexual favours would be no defence: as a minor, they are regarded as being legally incapable of giving I consent even if they initiate contact. And believing them to be overage is also no defence – I could still end up with a criminal record, and be forced to register as a sex offender.

    Now your son might not do that. But there are plenty of under 18’s who would, but it wouldn’t be them who would be legally liable for their actions.

    Some things are not for children, even if their parents think it’s ok for them. This is just such an example.

  24. Robert, I’m a Second Life sex worker. Unlike real life, there’s no way I can visually check to see the RL age of the person that walks into the place where I work and asks to do something very, very bad indeed.

    Now in my country, if the police found out, I could be arrested. The fact that the child asked me for sexual favours would be no defence: as a minor, they are regarded as being legally incapable of giving I consent even if they initiate contact. And believing them to be overage is also no defence – I could still end up with a criminal record, and be forced to register as a sex offender.

    Now your son might not do that. But there are plenty of under 18’s who would, but it wouldn’t be them who would be legally liable for their actions.

    Some things are not for children, even if their parents think it’s ok for them. This is just such an example.

  25. Robert, I joined Second Life about two months ago. On my first visit, I started clicking on spots on the map that looked like many people were hanging out. Every time I did, I ended up in a Casino, Strip Club, Brothel, or a place with open Virtual Sex occurring.

    My immediate conclusion was that this was certainly not a place I would want my child hanging out. Why on Earth you would want Patrick to have access to the Adult grid is beyond me.

    Anne Oynmous – no lecture on what you are doing, but the only way you can be sure you are not engaging with a minor is to not provide services at all. If nothing else, don’t provide services to anyone who does not have payment information on record.

  26. Robert, I joined Second Life about two months ago. On my first visit, I started clicking on spots on the map that looked like many people were hanging out. Every time I did, I ended up in a Casino, Strip Club, Brothel, or a place with open Virtual Sex occurring.

    My immediate conclusion was that this was certainly not a place I would want my child hanging out. Why on Earth you would want Patrick to have access to the Adult grid is beyond me.

    Anne Oynmous – no lecture on what you are doing, but the only way you can be sure you are not engaging with a minor is to not provide services at all. If nothing else, don’t provide services to anyone who does not have payment information on record.

  27. “Welcome to Smashing, a new kind of sexy fun! Sex should be fun, right? That’s what we thought, so we created Smashing. Check it out: our animations are carefully designed to make you more sensual, they’re fluid and silky, not harsh, herky-jerky, robot-moves.

    We’ve created the best animations imaginable so that you can share your creamiest fantasies and love with everyone. Liberate your inhibitions and let’s throw out all those gloomy, grimy animations that pollute Second Life.

    Have a look around, try us on for size – you’ll get the most alluring animations possible. We’ve kept the price low but when you start your sashay the impact will be volcanic. Turn those around you into your slobbering slaves.

    http://uncensored.slexchange.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&MerchantID=179987

    Smashing, it’s true love.”

  28. “Welcome to Smashing, a new kind of sexy fun! Sex should be fun, right? That’s what we thought, so we created Smashing. Check it out: our animations are carefully designed to make you more sensual, they’re fluid and silky, not harsh, herky-jerky, robot-moves.

    We’ve created the best animations imaginable so that you can share your creamiest fantasies and love with everyone. Liberate your inhibitions and let’s throw out all those gloomy, grimy animations that pollute Second Life.

    Have a look around, try us on for size – you’ll get the most alluring animations possible. We’ve kept the price low but when you start your sashay the impact will be volcanic. Turn those around you into your slobbering slaves.

    http://uncensored.slexchange.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&MerchantID=179987

    Smashing, it’s true love.”