Child Pornography and Pedophile Behavior in Second Life?

Child Pornography and Pedophile Behavior in Second Life?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, there is! Before I go into details, I would like to point something out. This post will be read by:

  • Psychologists and people interested in Psychology
  • Lawyers specializing on the topic
  • Second Life Residents
  • Linden Lab staff including Ebbe Altberg and Philip Rosedale
  • The FBI

How do I know? Very simple: I posted a link to this, in several related forums, on related Subreddits and on my twitter account which is followed by Linden Lab staff.

The reason I did that is: I am by no means a psychologist, nor am I a lawyer. I am a blogger. My observations and research into the topic let to more questions than answers. In fact it seems to be very complex topic and I hope to get some qualified answers in the comment section from people who know about this stuff.

If you are one of the above. Please comment!

Definitions

To start with lets define what we are talking about here:

Pedophilia

Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.

Child Pornography

Child Pornography is a criminal offense and is defined as any visual depiction involving the use of a minor, or one appearing to be a minor, engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Child pornography is illegal because it is evidence of a crime and harms all children. Some people refer to  child pornography images as “crime scene photographs” to make the point that taking such pictures and  behaving sexually with a child are crimes.

Ephebophilia

Ephebophilia is the primary or exclusive adult sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19. Ephebophilia is not everywhere considered a criminal offense and some experts even fight over whether or not it is actually a mental disorder

Ageplay

Ageplay or age-play is a form of role-playing in which an individual acts or treats another as if they were a different age, sexually or non-sexually. Age-play is role-playing between adults, and involves consent from all parties. Portraying any age can be the goal of age-play, from babies, to the elderly.

I actually found an in-depth article about the legalities here: Child Pornography and International Law

https://www.hg.org/child-pornography.html

Examples of Age-play in Second Life?

I have Screen-shots taken in an adult rated strip club in Second Life. Those are not in-world photos but actual screen-shots, including the name tabs of the avatars. I have not taken those myself. A reader was sending them to me.

For obvious reasons I can not post them here.

Those girls not only dance and strip there, they offer escort services. Don’t get me wrong, in my not so humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with strip clubs or escort services. Some people might have different views on that but hey everybody is entitled to his own opinion and moral standards. In fact, I even sponsor a new strip club in Second Life (with a strict 18+ policy)

What is disturbing about those images is: The avatars are not even close to what anyone would call an 18+ Teenager.

@EbbeAltberg
You want to have them? Lets meet In-World and have a chat about this. I guess you know where to find my in-world office. 🙂

Is Age Play Allowed in Second Life?

The First question that springs to mind is: Does Linden Lab allow to a certain extend what is commonly referred to as „Age Play“. The answer is: It depends!

Linden Labs Policy

Under our Community Standards policy, real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors are not allowed within Second Life. When detected, individuals and groups promoting or providing such content and activities will be subject to sanctions, which may include termination of accounts, closure of groups, removal of content, and loss of land or access to land.

There are three key aspects involved in these materials or acts that are in breach of the Community Standards:

Participation by Residents in lewd or sexual acts in which one or more of the avatars appears to represent minors (or the depiction of such acts in images, video, textures, or text) is a violation of the Community Standards. Promoting or catering to such behavior or representations violates our Community Standards.

For instance, the placement of avatars appearing to represent minors in proximity to “sex beds” or other sexualized graphics, objects, or scripts would violate our Community Standards, as would the placement of sexualized “pose balls” or other content in areas depicting playgrounds or children’s spaces.

The graphic depiction of children in a sexual or lewd manner violates our Community Standards.

Linden Lab reserves the right to immediately terminate the accounts of Residents who violate these standards.

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Clarification_of_policy_disallowing_ageplay

Their stance on is pretty clear: No sexual age-play allowed involving minors. Period. They go to the extreme of prohibiting child avatars close to objects with sex scripts in it. Non-sexual age-play is however allowed.

I am not sure about whether or not they actually police this. Do they even have to? It is my understanding, that they only act on the subject matter if and when they receive abuse reports from Second life Residents.

Here another interesting article
http://virtuallyblind.com/2008/05/23/ageplay-ban-clarified/

The Legal Aspect

As Residents of Second Life we are subject to US jurisdiction AND the jurisdiction of the country we are living in, when it comes to what we are allowed to do in Second Life and what not. The legal side in the US is pretty clear:

Sec. 1466A. Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children
(a) IN GENERAL- Any person who, in a circumstance described in subsection (d), knowingly produces, distributes, receives, or possesses with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that–
(1)(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and
(B) is obscene; or
(2)(A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and
(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value;
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 2252A(b)(1), including the penalties provided for cases involving a prior conviction.

The Psychological Aspect

Older Residents (Certainly the Lindens do) remember this big scandal the went through the press in 2007, talking about child pornography in Second Life. At the time there where actually groups for age-play in Second Life. I found an article in the Alphaville herald featuring an interview with a manager of an age-play group.

Interesting read indeed:
http://alphavilleherald.com/2007/01/ageplay_in_seco.html

The part which made me think about the topic from another perspective was this comment :

Emily Semaphore: Yes. I was molested for years by a family member. For me, role-playing in a sexual manner is healing because it allows me to RECLAIM my sexuality. Everything I am involved in is consensual, even if it appears not to be (i.e. consensual non-consensuality). It is as though I am placing myself back into that mindset and I can say ‘yes’, and I can say ‘no’, and I can say ‘fuck you mister”. I can also work thru issues where, and this is a deep pain for sexual assault survivors, my body responded favorably to the abuse, and tell myself I am indeed not a bad person for my biology having responded to what was done to me when I was a child. Having discussed this at length with lots of other folks, I think many people are able to use sexual age-play to a very healing end. Unfortunately, most people have a very hard time understanding this. It’s very nuanced.

Here a Couple of Questions for You:

@Staff from LindenLab:
Do you guys actually actively check for this on the grid?

@Laywers reading this:
Does Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, have an obligation to proactively eliminate such content or is acting upon abuse reports sufficient?

@Second Life Residents
Do you feel the Lindens are doing enough to prevent such content or behavior ? If you see something that obviously violates the TOS in this respect, do you actually report it? What would you tolerate and what not – in another words were do you personally draw the line?

@Psychologists reading this

Could this kind of role play be a valid part of a therapy for either victims or pedophiles?

Or what about this thought:

Let’s say somebody is pedophile. What effect would living out his fantasies in a virtual environment? Could this prevent this person from actually molesting children in the real world or is the opposite to be expected?

Please discuss!

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 7
  • comment-avatar
    Bobbie Faulds 4 months

    There is no way LL employees can be everywhere. They depend on the players to use the AR function, especially with a picture since a screen print shows when you do an AR, to report age play/child porn when it’s seen. Contrary to popular belief, AR’s dealing with age play/child porn are checked quickly. The reporter is never told what happens. I have seen people I reported poof and their profile no longer searchable. LL takes those violations very seriously.

  • comment-avatar
    drake1nightfire 4 months

    First off, you didn’t actually ask a question. Secondly, their stance is pretty well known and many residents actively search for and report sims where this happens. I’m really not sure why you decided to dig this butt nugget of a topic up after it has been hashed over and over and beaten to death in the forums. Why post it to the feds? Do you want them involved?
    As to your “thought”. NO letting a peado live out his or her fantasies in SL will not keep them from building a desire for the real thing, it will make them want it more. Jesus wept. Please leave the psychoanalysis to the pros. Better yet, delete this topic. Why people keep dragging this back up over nad over when it has been answered time and time again is beyond me.

    • comment-avatar

      Well Drake,

      why writing about it? Because its my blog, because i walked into something on the grid like that and because I can. It still exists, it’s not an isolated incident which dates back to 2007.

      About fantasies lived in SL: There are many people living out fantasies in SL which they would not dare to do in RL (me being a call girl was one of them). Did “palying” a call girl make me want to try in RL? No, not at all. Could ageplay have therapeutic value? I have no idea! This one woman i cited said it did help her in way. Is that represantative? By no means. Does it make me think? By all means.

      I really was hoping to get some input here from qualified psychologists and lawyers, because you and me are not able to judge. We can only assume based on our own perspectives.

      Carol

  • comment-avatar

    Underage sex play seemed like it was everywhere when I first joined Second Life. I soon learned where not to go so to avoid them so I wouldn’t have to put up with people sexually aroused by the rp of pedophilia.

    • comment-avatar

      Hello Sheree

      I never came accross that stuff until recently. I am tempted to investigate further into it and subsequently report it with some solid prove in my hand. But I am a bit afraid to open a can of wurms doing so.

      Carol

      • comment-avatar
        BobMorane 4 months

        Thats a can you shouldn’t be afraid to open. I get it can change perception of SL but optimist i am I believe that the majority of SL residents are nice and decent people who life out their legal kinks.

  • comment-avatar

    Hello All

    I have a little update on this topic. I did some research on this. My key findings are:

    Federal courts of the US decided, that images or actions involving avatars of minors are NOT illegal, as long as the real people involved are 18+. The decission was based on the constitutional right of freedom of speech. One can however get charged, if he THOUGHT the other person is a minor, even so it is not the case. The intention is what actually counts in such a case. How bizarre, you can get charged for thoughts now. Thank god, they can’t read mine. Otherwise I would go to prison for a long time. Just kidding.

    In Germany the legal situation is different. Role-play, images, sexual actions in a virtual world involving avatars portraying children is illegal, even if the people involved are adults in real life.

    The big difference is: It is applicable to avatars which look younger than 14 not 18, because 14 is the age of consent in Germany (restrictions apply). However the players involved have to be 18+, because it is illegal to distribute or (make directly accessible) ANY sexually explicit images to a person below 18.

    The later being a bit weird, I think. A 14 year old is allowed to fuck in RL, but it is forbidden to show him pornographic images, or to simulate sex in a virtual world.

    I wonder if the Lindens will adopt their policy to the new regulations. Actually I do not think so. It is easier for them to simply draw the line at 18+.

    Simply because, many people in the US (and elsewhere) would find such behavior or images offending and obscene. I mean, we are talking about a country (US) where a considerable part of the population still believes that homosexuality is a perversion or mental illness and sex without marriage a sin. – /me sighs –

    Yours

    Carol

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