Saturday, November 28, 2009

On being a child in SL

90% of the time in Second Life, I'm in one of my child avatars. I have a couple, children from Victorian times ranging in age from 7 to 11.

And 80% of the time I'm one of them (most often Elizabeth, under Marrant Vita's avatar) I'm someplace safe for people playing children avatars -- Deadwood (Phoenix Pass) or my tiny bit of mainland, my residence at my friends' place in Caledon.

But the rest of the time I'm out and about, visiting my own shops or shopping. I'm very comfortable being a child in SL -- I didn't start out that way, mind you. I tried out the adult life, the wild life. My oats have been sown here and there, I've fallen in love, I've done adult things as an adult with adults.

Being a child, though, has somehow felt right to me, more and more. And in my limited travels, I've been lucky enough to only have interactions with fellow Second Lifers who are pleasant in their dealings with a child avatar. Of course, mine are always dressed in charming Victorian costume, so that may make a difference.

It always comes as a big surprise when I read posts wherein someone declares that anyone playing a child in Second Life is a pervert of some kind, looking for age play sex and the defense from others often is, not all are perverts, some are just messed up in the head.

Hmmm. This comes from a place where people using adult or furry avatars often are going around looking for on-line sex with strangers who may or may not be anything like the person they claim to be.

In any case, I hope I'll be able to continue with my 7 to 11 year old child avatar roleplaying. I love this age -- I used to be it once and now I have offspring in that range. These are people, by the way. We label them as "children" for many reasons, good ones. They are children, innocent, optomistic, full of hope and promise and possibilities for tomorrow. This is the age when for the normal child, friendship and love have nothing to do with sexual encounters. But what I think many forget both in RL and in SL is, children are people - often intelligent, observing adults and drawing conclusions that can be close to the mark and very amusing.

My characters are not in need of parents, either -- they are loners or orphans, but they have caretakers who are somewhere offstage (that would be me, HELLOOO, I'm an adult, the typist, and the caretaker of my avatars). They are at the age when children are learning that they are separate entities, stepping out a bit to see what they can do independently, then rushing back to the comfort of home when things get shaky.

For those who find my avatar upsetting or attractive as a child, I would just ask that you walk on the other side of the street and leave me be. My child avatars are interested in things like wondering if fairies are real, how hummingbirds stay up in the air so long, talking about how stupid boys and grown ups are with her best friends. Most often they don't notice the grumpy, paranoid, name-calling adults around them -- life is too magical to be bothered with all of that.


  1. Hi there, Dio sent me this way from her blog and I'd just like to say how much I enjoyed your post. I've never played a kid av but I love the fact they are around. Kids add colour and sould to any sim I've met them in - they add fun, cheek, humour and life. I live in Steelhead and a cohort of Babbage urchins have recently moved into the city and they have set about making it a fun place to be - viva la kids!

  2. Nice post (thanks to HBA for the tweet about it). I think people who portray children are great. They have their reasons not to pursue smut and sex just as much as someone else has a reason to explore their sexuality. And the reasons for either are many. To understand that some may not have had the childhood they wanted, wish to relive what they had (as you do, as well as in a way to better bond with your kids), or simply make it clear that intentions and pursuits in Second Life fall into a specific range of content so there is no confusion is perfectly fine if not more mature in behavior. btw I've come to recognize that mature behavior versus adult are two different things, the latter often expressing a lack of control among mixed/nonconsentual company, thereby a sign of immaturity.

  3. Thanks to both of you for your words -- I stubbornly keep being children in SL, but find negative reactions from people discouraging - positives are very very welcome!

  4. A nice post indeed, Miss Vita! (And HBA gets another commission for having directed me toward this post. :)) I think it's difficult to play a child well - see my comment on Miss Dio's blog about why I have no hope to do so - but your remarks get at the essence of the independent but not-quite-adult nature of the little critters.

    Being dressed in charming Victorian costume may well help others behave in a civilized manner toward your child avs. I've noticed that Victorian attire seems to cut down on crude suggestions. (Either that or the glasses. :) )

  5. And I have to chime in, too, only Miss Dio sent me.

    There's a lot of child hatred, or at the least, folks unnerved by child avs. I have a child av, that no one sees (mainly because I can't stand most SL children who misspell things and act out as small disdainful brats--by which I mean, most SL MAINLAND children, controlled by typists who think that's how children behave). But--and somehow, this is worse--I have a doll av. And people are horrified by and large by the doll av, I'm not sure why.

    Most of my avatars are short, but when I'm in doll form, the doll skin plus the height means Evil Predatory Adult Posing as Child for Sex. Which is just...odd for me. I mean, some of my doll skins aren't even anatomically correct!

    I will say--barring a few urchins-gone-wild in Babbage--that, by and large, children in the steamlands are so much better behaved. Occasionally, they get into trouble, but generally not..."that kind".

    Though it is true, that all it takes is one, and it tarnishes the whole category. Unhappy truth, at that.