Not the whole of congress, but one person in particular – Republican congressman Mark Kirk. This is the same man who is targeting social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, but not content with going after them, he has now tried to drum up support for his cause by bringing Second Life in to the argument.
Kirk is a Republican congressman seeking re-election next year. He is the man behind a bill known as the Deleting Online Predators Act. This bill basically takes the stance that all social networking sites are havens for paedophiles and children need protecting from the danger at all costs.
If this proposed bill went through it would mean school and libraries to put in to place a “technology protection measure” on all their computers which is designed to “protect against access to a commercial social-networking Web site or chat room, unless used for an educational purpose with adult supervision.”
According to CNet, Kirk has now turned his attention to Second Life in an attempt to raise further awareness of his cause, and garner publicity for the bill.
The congressman staged a press conference at a library in Chicago to supposedly highlight the dangers of the virtual world game to children. He said he was appalled by the lack of age verification measures on Second Life, and proved his point by telling how an aide managed to successfully log in while posing as an 18 year old.
He then said:
“Sites like Second Life offer no protections to keep kids from virtual “rape rooms,” brothels, and drug stores. If sites like Second Life won’t protect kids from obviously inappropriate content, the Congress will.”
While I’m not a Second Life player, and not a particularly big fan of the concept, I also don’t think it’s congress or any other country’s authorities responsibility to police the game.
Grooming does of course take place on social network sites, and virtual games such as Second Life, but with a bit of intelligence on the part of parents, it should never be a problem. I certainly don’t want a politician telling me what I can and can’t do with a form of entertainment, and more so, where I can access it from.