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Child Protector Software for Second Life? | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

Child Protector Software for Second Life?

August 22, 2007 2:09 am

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Parental Control Software for SL: Contest

The TUV tekit and Beatenetworks announce a special event. As many are aware, there have been issues in the press recently regarding issues with minors access to adult content in Second Life. While Linden Labs has tried to respond to this criticism via ideas such as ID verification, the community itself has largely been opposed to such an approach. As an alternative, we believe that individual responsibility and parental tools are a better answer. So we are forming a contest to build and provide a robust open source tool which will allow individuals to control avatar access to content without having to resort to sending private information to an unknown third party.

At first thought I would say ‘an alternative to the scary looking identity verification? Woot! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Neat! But them come the ’second thoughts’:

  1. Allowing to control avatar access means the avie is on the grid already. The main grid that is. If you, as a parent know that - well, otherwise you can’t force your teen to install this - then why not send him or her to the teen grid, where at the moment the kid belongs?
  2. Controlling access to content: does that include scanning each and every IM received on ‘dirty’ words and proposals?
  3. Is it that simple? PG area => SL runs smoothly (or at least ‘normal’). Mature area => close SL, boot images.google.com?

The only way this tool could come handy, imho, is when the teen grid and main grid would merge. Otherwise it should be at least implemented in an unofficial Second Life client?

Parents concerned about Second Life 101

Slelections: For Family Values, Vote Vint!What parents worried about their children playing looking at and experiencing mature stuff in Second Life should do:

Ask your kid - the one you’re worried about, not the one getting straight A’s - if he or she plays Second Life.

If your kid answers ‘No’, you can either trust it, and feel relieved the kid is not exposed to the dangerous world of Second Life and that you now it just consuming it’s average 4 hours a day of lots of sex and violence through the TV. Or you can distrust your kid and start monitoring it’s monthly data consumption. Of course, sudden peak levels in that doesn’t necessarily mean your kid plays Second Life. It could also mean that he or she downloads p0rn, music with parental advisory lyrics or - even worse - runs a vlog or his or her own porn site. Ow, and don’t forget to look at the all A’s kid, as that is the one that actually knows how to turn on a PC.

If your kid answers ‘Yes’, ask it which grid he plays: teen or main grid. Teen grid? No worries, rules are strict there and your kid learns to build, script and - according to recent studies - some social and communication skills too. You could even consider showing some engagement and ask your kid what it’s actually doing and/or creating on that grid. Main Grid? Hmmm. Tell it to move to the teen grid. If tears and sobbing come, do tell them that the teens are neat and inventive too, and that if he or she really wants pr0n, there is always the rest of the internet. Make up for the loss of this whole new world and having to make new friends by giving the kid some new toys: a better internet connection, the iPhone or some extra daily TV hours watching sex and violence.

(Via SLinsider)

18 Responses to “Child Protector Software for Second Life?”

dandellion Kimban wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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All those systems for spying own kid is just a proof that parents aredoing lousy parental job and have no f*cking clue how to raise the kids. But, who am I to judge other people’s incompetence. At least, it is a nice step from fascism of identity verification. At least, parents should not worry about stumbling on own kid in one of the free sex clubs.

Nadine Nozaki wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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Me smiles, get in with the kids *giggle* But to bad you can’t do that in SL at least not official. The kids are bannen on main grid, the adults at the teen grid.

Vint Falken wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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And I’m still wondering how parents that are not tech savvy enough to actually know what their kid does and believe all the ’scary RL press stories about the whole grid being evil’ are going to ‘enforce’ this software on their kids.

*wonders if there are whole kid’s forums about how to ‘escape’ the parental control programs / parental control in general*

I can think of a few ways and I never even tried. (Mommy was not sure where the PC ‘on’ button was when I was little. /clear was a kewl command in IRC, though :p)

And if they haven’t yet, shouldn’t we start one and title it ‘PAW’? Kids used to have a secret diary and a tree house to hide things. Now they have G:\. What’s the difference? (Except a larger offer of ‘very wrong stuff’, although they should learn how to handle that sooner or later?)

Vint Falken wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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Nadine, yes. You should read the ‘I’m a Second Life Lawbreaker’ post from Scobleizer. July 1 2006.

dandellion Kimban wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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*wonders if there are whole kid’s forums about how to ‘escape’ the parental control programs / parental control in general*

You bet. It would be interesting to sneak into one of their forums. If I somehow succed in that. I bet their verifications are more successful than SL’s.

Veronique Kaminski wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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.. and better dont worry about WHY the good one is receiving all these A’s…

No, seriously,… why all this witchhunt? In RL kids are also daily exposed to a lot of potential dangers and temptations. Via the media (tv, movie, magazines, internet, advertisements…), or just because life itself: friends, people they meet, partys they go to..
And I dont think that one, as a parent, can follow and supervise them 24/7. I dont even think that is a sane and sound way to raise kids. A good guidance will help them a lot more.
Not that I am that experienced, and if my parents only knew what I have done while a teen.. :-)
But hey, I’ve got there.. I survived and am an adult now. And a lot of what and who I am, I became just by exploring what is beyond the limits my parents imposed me, and by many times retreating, returning to the guidlines they showed me.

The big difference seems to be: the “classic” threats occur in a world that the parents know. They lived there themselves too. The have an overview of it, understand it, can anticipate and and know how to react in many situations, just because they experienced similar situations themselfs.
The internet/SL world is for most still a dark forbidding jungle. A wasteland their kids know a lot more about. Yes, they know how to read e-mails and how to surf a bit, but they by far dont have the same skills and knowledge about it as their children do.
I think that is what really frightens parents the most. Not so much the dangers itself,they exist everywhere, but the fact that it is hard for them to distinguish all of them. The lack of abilities to interfere when needed..

So, maybe, we must partially revert the problem.
The question is not only : what can parents do to protect thr children, but also: how can the kids help their parents to give them good guidance, by explaining what and how they are doing things..?

Nadine Nozaki wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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Nice post, that Vint, I can understand why Linden have choosed the ruled they have. That don’t mean i agree with it being the right choose. A better Mature check might do it, for they to dare, less stupid law suites might help.

Nobody Fugazi wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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I avoided this one so far… it seems like an attempt to get software to act as a nanny. The answer, as you indicate, is for parents to be involved and have open communication with their children.

Children shouldn’t be on the main grid in the first place. O.o

Shockwave Plasma wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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The added danger on the main grid is if any of these children hit on Vint, she will shoot them.

Storm Thunders wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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I’m tempted to send them my little Ratings Detector… but they may not like the pictures. ;)

http://www.slexchange.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=151958

Land has ratings in SL, but content does not. How is software supposed to know that the neighbors are naked, or that pose ball animation is pornographic? And if your kid is capable ( and unsupervised ) enough to be on the grid, why do you think they can’t undo your “protection” anyway?

Vint Falken wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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Veronique, yes good point. Although parents most of the time are very good at hearing what they want to hear, and as they want to see danger, you bet they’ll find some.

Storm, after reading your info on the HUD (I did not find any pictures?): whatever stuff they come up with, must be integrated in the client, else it would not work in non-script enabled regions anyway?

Storm Thunders wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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The HUD makes me laugh - I will send you one when I’m in SL next. It has silly stick people.

Changing the client won’t do much. It could refuse to let you TP to a mature area (or force the client to crash, or make the screen black, etc.) I’ve looked in the source code; I think that would be fairly easy to do. Maybe turn off voice and filter text chat.

It still won’t protect children from flying penises in the Welcome Area, naked noobs, or people blowing their own brains out with a shotgun. Move the computer out of the child’s bedroom, explore with them, and talk about what you both see.

DesertWolf wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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Very nice article Vint. I am a SL resident who has a kid on the Teen Grid, she is always showing me her outfits, things she has made, homes she and her friends are building. I think it is a great experience for her, and I check on what she is doing, but am not monitoring keystrokes or anything like that(with voice that is a moot point). She is exposed to more “bad” things in RL than she is in SL, and to be honest she is probably exposed to less of it, because she watches less TV now, because she is on SL.

Nuschi Martynov wrote a comment on August 22, 2007
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the HUD can be seen on my blog (2ndtravel.blogspot.com), it says that it will, like, paint the whole screen black when near a adult plot (if i got that right).

Dalien Talbot wrote a comment on August 23, 2007
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When I got into the age where some kids might try alcohol, my parents said - it’s ok to try alcohol, but better at home.

Indeed it was a very good idea - I did try the thing, figured there was nothing special, and got along. Now imagine the same thing in the company, somewhere in a strange place.. weird things could have happened.

Same thing about the SL - why not use it as a means for sexual & online safety education tool, rather than trying to plain hide it from minors.
They can go to the nearest DVD rental and get a much higher quality pr0n anyway, if they wish.

Oh, wait, I forgot, it was only SL that had SLex and gambling - we don’t have that in real life…

Vint Falken wrote a comment on August 23, 2007
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I just tried the HUD Mr. Thunders has send me in-world and it’s hilarious. The sticky figures indeed are cute. Still don’t think that is what they had in mind. ;)

Dalien, I think you need to show an ID for renting the pr0n DVS? And yeah, no SLex and gambling in RL. Sometimes I really do pitty Vint’s human. :p

Dalien Talbot wrote a comment on August 23, 2007
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Vint: for the DVDs - aren’t there always some older friends, who would be very willing to help, even just to show how cool they are since they are ‘already grown up’ ? :)

Those who want - will always find the ways to do it.

The locks are not from thieves - they are from honest people.

Trying to replace the parental duties with the most advanced technology is bound to fail.

Care to comment?