In the past, I have posted about surveys and polls that claim this
many or that many young or old are spending tons of time playing
online games. Sometimes it seems like there are more surveys and
studies than there are games.
BUT, there are people that really, really, get addicted to online
gaming. They, somehow, get absorbed in the drama and controlled by
the peer pressure coming from their teammates that are also probably
at least partially addicted.
If we compared online gaming to drinking alcohol, what percentage of
drinkers actually get addicted and become alcoholics? My guess is
a very small percentage, yet, alcoholism is a serious addiction. It
wrecks marriages, gets people fired, and if they drink while driving,
it can kill innocent people on the highway.
I think most if not all people would agree that alcohism is serious.
Why then do most people chuckle at online gaming addiction? And why
has the medical community NOT stepped up to recognize online gaming
as an official disease so that it can be officially treated?
In this series, I will explore these and other gaming questions.
Gaming online is defined as using some sort of electronic device in order to
play an amusement, pastime, contest or sport according to rules with the players
in direct opposition to each other or in opposition to a computer or other device
on the internet or some other type of wired or wireless ‘connection’.
There are also games that are not online, but just on a computer or other device,
such as solitaire and many others, but without being connected to some sort of
network, these games are usually single-player games. Even here, there are
exceptions, like the old Ping Pong game that displayed on one’s TV set and had
to controllers, one for each player.
Online gaming started back in the 1970’s with one example being Multi-User-Dungeon, (MUD), games.
Commercial games came quickly starting with online games like Islands of Kesmai, which was
the first online role playing game. As the internet expanded, especially the World
Wide Web, online gaming has become a global pastime with literally millions and millions
of players young and old.
Not long ago I had never heard of the term ‘age play’. Of couse, I have
known since the beginning that the person might not be the person I think
it is. Age play is posing as a minor. The usual purpose is child sexual
This sounds pretty creepy and anyone doing this should be banned from all
online virtual worlds and reported to the police. However, it’s not that
easy to discern. For example, if you see two avatars that look like minors
kissing and fondling, and even going further, is that a crime? Would you
you report them? They are minors as far as you know, but in the real world
minors are have sexual intercourse everyday. There’s no stopping them.
So, with that in mind, you just walk the other way. Little did you know
that the owner of one of those avatars was actually an adult appearing as
a minor; that’s AGE PLAY.
So how will be control or stop this?
One of the most intriguing things about some virtual worlds is the opportunity
to convert in-game money to real world money. Of course, with so many people
online from around the world that are poor. Many live in third world countries
where working long hours, six days a week in a sweat-shop factory, (if you can
find an opening), might pay just $150 per month, most of these people are
ecstactic to learn of earning money inside a game world.
And then there are the others that have money to invest. They can open up any
type of store or business that suits them. It could be building virtual homes
or lawnscaping service. Whatever is needed in the real world, is also needed
in the virtual worlds. They are ALMOST real.
One famous example of this is Anshe Chung that earned a million dollars buying
and selling real estate in Second Life.
One BIG downside to all of this is that there are no laws. Sure there are Terms
of Service, (TOS), that one agrees to when joining and these virtual worlds, but
they are hard to enforce and only prohibit some of the activities that are against
the law in the real world.
In the virtual worlds there is no FBI. No police officers. No law enforcemnet at all.
Slowly real world law enforcement is getting involved, but it’s very new to them.
They don’t have time to sit around Police Headquarters playing in virtual worlds.
It’s a new Wild, Wild, West all over again!