Monday, May 3, 2010

Addiction To Second Life?

Life 2.0 discussion
Location: Mixed Reality Event

Last night, I had the chance to listen as Wagner James Au moderated a panel with Philip Rosedale, Cyn Linden, and Jason Springarn-Koff, director of the documentary Life 2.0. The film screened at Sundance this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

The topic was addiction. My own definition goes as follows.

Over the 3+ years I've been in SL, I have met individuals--never educators, I'd add--who spent enough time in-world to begin degrading their real-life jobs and relationships. That's not a definition from the DSM, but it seemed addictive behavior.

If the individual were making money or creating art, however, I'd make an exception. One of my neighbors draws for hours on end and is beginning to get noticed in the East Coast art scene. He's following his bliss and hearing a muse's call, something that, as a writer, I appreciate.

But I'd be curious to know what other experienced SLers consider the marks of addiction to the virtual world. We joked last night about being addicted to breathing, since we do it so much.

At a certain point, however, many other activities cause harm. What then are the harmful side effects of spending too much time in SL? And how much is too much?



Maggie said...

Very interesting post!

Too much of anything is never good. In the case of SL/other virtual worlds "how much is to much?"......depends on each individual person.

Virtual worlds have been proven to help people psychologically. For people with depression, other psychological disorders, disabilities etc. spending hours in virtual worlds can make them feel as part of society. However, if it is someone spending time with no specific purpose then....I would concider it an addiction.

Iggy O said...

Margaret make good point. How much enough? Iggy ask.

Sorry, but Iggy addicted to talking like Hulk now.

Talking like Hulk make Iggy happy when stupid grades due at Registrar's office.

Iggy need to stop this before he lose all friends, starting talking like Hulk when sleeping, and have to sleep in shed IRL.

Maggie said...


Talking about addiction is a very good idea. SL/Virtual Worlds can be addictive.

Honestly, it made me evaluate "how much" time I spend in virtual worlds. The questions now is "how much" of that is real work/addiction. I guess that is the result of doing a PhD in virtual worlds. : )