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’:
- 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?
- Controlling access to content: does that include scanning each and every IM received on ‘dirty’ words and proposals?
- 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
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.