Last weekend came horrible allegations that a real life couple became so obsessed with playing Second Life that they reportedly let their child starve (watch above), and it's the kind of story I generally don't blog on New World Notes for many, complicated reasons. For one thing, there's the sad, underlying tragedy which makes a casual blog post seem sordid; but beyond that, online addiction is a story as old as the Internet itself -- if we define "addiction" as obsessive behavior which negatively impacts a person and their loved ones -- and that particular story has been repeating itself with nominal variations for decades. That said, I didn't want to let this story pass without making a larger point:
Only a very small minority of Second Life users are arguably "addicted" to being in-world -- but in all likelihood, they are also a very large part of the Second Life experience, and that's something we should not ignore.
Here's what I mean: