Yes, I know, it’s just a rumour and everyone at Linden Lab denies any possibility of a merger, but since the changes regarding Zindra were announced, the rumours have been flying thick and fast. I read today an interesting article by Teen Grid veteran Ralph Schnook, who talks about his reasons for hoping the grids will be merged.
Now, while I can’t find fault in his arguments, and I do think a merger will be generally a good thing for the teens, I also think it will be totally a bad and potentially dangerous thing for people over 18.
See, everyone says “What about the pervs and pedophiles”, and it’s true that there will be a minority of people like this who will prey on kids just as they do now on Myspace and similar communities. But what bothers me also is the risk adults face from kids. In particular, any involvement in any sort of sexual context, which could potentially get the adult involved in a pedophilia charge (even if it’s a made-up AR by some kid with a grudge) if one of the participants turns out to be underage.
As things stand, any kid on the adult grid has broken terms and conditions, and has knowingly lied, by being there. The adult who embarks on a relationship inside SL, has no responsibility for ensuring that their partner is adult because they’ve already declared so when they signed up. If they’re not, they lied – the kid is in the wrong, and the adult is in the clear.
In a merged grid, the kid is there by right, and suddenly the responsibility for ensuring you’re not in a relationship with a kid is yours. The kid can lie, just as before and tell you that they’re over 18, but this time you are the one that will have to prove innocence if accused.
Isolating adult content in Zindra, to a place that’s supposedly accessible to adults only, will help a little, so those people who sell adult content or adult services are to some extent spared part of the risk. But how certain are you that your IM chat, that took place in your own home, isn’t being copied and forwarded on and ending up as part of an AR in the category of “corrupting a minor” or some similar such thing?
I guess all it would take is that you make an enemy over some trivial thing and playground-politics takes over. It would be as easy to AR someone for that just as easily as it’s currently possible to wrongly accuse someone of being underage.
Yuk. No thanks.