Social Media Awareness For Athletes

Over the last decade, social media has grown exponentially. From a very young age, we are introduced to different media platforms, which allows people to be “connected” all of the time. With this strong digital community presence, the entire public has access to view your profile, content, etc. Now this may seem like a great aspect and addition to the growing technology market, but for young athletes, it could really hurt the potential to take their game to the collegiate level.

twitter-icons

In 2014, Coach Singleton from Oklahoma State revealed on highschool sports that he had to drop a recruit because of his activity and behavior on social media. This isn’t the only scenario where a recruit had been let go by a top collegiate program due to lack of character on twitter. The coaches are trying to get across to all the athletes that it isn’t just your friends that see what you post and follow you, more people than you know have access to your accounts. Social media has gone for a leisure activity for people to stay in touch, to a very influential piece to the college recruiting process. It not only makes it easier for coaches to see the person their potential player really is, but it shows the character and moral standing of the overall person, and coaches are looking for that well balanced, All-American type of person.

In New Hampshire, an article released that a basketball player had his player of the year award taken away from him because there was profanity on his twitter account. He had tweeted right after a game at another payer using words that are not permitted, and the result ended in him losing an entire years work for a very prominent award. In fact, he only had the post up for about 15 minutes, but once you post something on the Internet, it will always be there. Athletes have to know that things don’t disappear, and if you do not represent yourself in a class act way, it could end up hurting you in your high school, college and professional level careers. You always have to remember that the logo you wear and represent means more than just yourself. That number on your chest reveals a bigger message than the player itself. When you put that jersey on you are representing your school, your fans, your family, alumni and everyone that looks up to you and that has put you in the position you are in to have the most success.

In 2014, in Ohio, the mansfield journal revealed that a soccer player was suspended from the team due to a posting on twitter about marijuana. The player posted a picture of a hand and the drug and the school, which then turned into a big lawsuit, saw it. Now it was not said that he was promoting the drug, but there is a zero tolerance for any drugs in sports and the NCAA test for these drugs at the collegiate level. It goes to show you that you are under radar as an athlete more so than anyone else. Athletes have to know at all times that they are being watched by others and the smallest, minor, bad decision can cost you a lot. People look up to you as an athlete and if you want to give back to those people and everyone else that supports you such as your school and family, than you have to behave like it. Although being an athlete comes with a lot of responsibility, there is nothing else like being part of a team, and playing with your brothers and sisters to the very last whistle. It is a fraternity, a family bond that is so strong. Athletes have to think before they post on social media, what would my parents, friends, teachers, teammates think? Not only do you put your reputation on the line, but you put the one’s to the left and right of you at practice every day too.

phone-icons

This is a way to raise awareness to young athletes out there. It is not to scare you away from social media, because it is a great part of technology, which has grown to be a big part of a lot of people’s lives. Just know that people see what you [post, and don’t do anything that could jeopardize all the great things that you have going for you. The recruiting process starts early, so make sure you are representing yourself and others with the upmost respect.

Brian Sherlock

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

 

 

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When Does Censorship Go Too Far?

Social media sites provide an online site where people can freely express themselves. However, most of these sites do have guidelines to protect their site and its users. They have the responsibility to take action when some of the content published is negative or can jeopardize another person’s life. But what happens when a social media site blocks an award winning photograph because it includes indecent exposure?

free-the-nipple

Recently, Facebook took the down the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph,

The Terror of War because it featured a naked child. The photograph is from the

Vietnam War and it features children running from the napalm attacks and soldiers.

A couple of weeks ago the Norwegian writer, Tom Egeland posted the award-winning photo on Facebook. Immediately after posting, the photo and his post were taken down because as Facebook noted it included indecent exposure.

Norway’s largest newspaper Aftenposten, then decided to post an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg with the photo. They received a warning notification that the photo should either be blurred and reposted or taken down altogether but before the Newspaper could respond, the photograph and post were taken off of Facebook. Tom Egeland and the editor of the newspaper were upset because they believe that Facebook is denying them the opportunity to their editorial responsibility. The photograph is a piece of art as well as a portrayal of a monumental moment in history.

Censorship can be important when trying to block out negative comments and images for children, or prevent cyber bullying. However, too much censorship can interfere with journalism and freedom of speech. Sometimes things as innocent as a baby’s naked bum could be censored on social media. Not only could it provoke some negative comments but in a way it does violate the child’s privacy. Although that photo may seem cute and innocent as a baby but when the child grows up the online history will follow that kid as an adult when he is embarrassed by the photo. This may have been the intention of Facebook wanting to censor The Terror of War photograph to protect the little girl in the photo.

Another similar example is the #FreetheNipple Movement, where Instagram took extreme measures and deleted almost all pictures with that hashtag. Although this movement was trying to promote a movement and try to un-sexualize breasts, the problem with the photographs is that it causes a lot of negative attention most of it being men who are sexualizing their breasts. Instagram is not only trying to protect their social media site and brand but also protect these women. Photos like these may be trying to bring awareness but may also jeopardize your future; a photograph of your breasts taken in college could cost you a job in 10 years.

Although censoring can help protect a company or someone’s image, there is a boundary crossed when social media censorship interferes with freedom of expression or a social movement. I think that an issue with social media sites creating enforcement, is the struggle of finding the balance between censorship and providing social media users freedom of their expression. Like the issue with Facebook and the Pulitzer winning photograph the Terror of War, there will probably still be issues with other art pieces on social media or simply a photograph for awareness that is taken down to avoid any problems like #FreetheNipple Movement.

Ana Lipson

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University 

 

 

https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/09/facebook-bans-then-reinstates-iconic-napalm-girl-photo/

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Concept Cars, Snake Oil, and Regulation

The argument for national regulation in regards to Internet access and usage is a strong one. We’re going to get in to our way back machine to talk about a few important things in our lives that are now government regulated and why that’s a good thing …

CARS
Toyota Pod concept car

We could go down the long road of the history of car safety and regulations, but here’s a link to a better resource; Visit allgov.com for information about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Here’s the gist. Cars were unsafe. There wasn’t anyone out there regulating safety, cost, etc. People were dying when a few additions could have save their lives (e.g. seatbelts). Ralph Nader even wrote a book in the 1960s called Unsafe at Any Speed.

Regulation to the automobile industry is more than just safety. There are laws and regulations in place for what kind of emissions cars put off as well as fuel economy regulations. Those regulations mean that engine designers have to get creative. How to make an awesome muscle car engine follow the rules? That takes skill. Pat, from the musclecarguy.net stands “by the fact that having to make an engine that meets fuel economy and emissions regulations is why we have the horsepower we are enjoying now.”

There are some cons, of course, to such stringent regulations. Most of the cars on the market today look very similar. But I argue that that is the manufacturers choice and desire to make a significant profit. We’ve seen concept vehicles that would work within the regulations, but because profit matters more than art, cars look the same.

So, what have regulations on the automobile industry done … save lives, made reliable vehicles accessible to everyone.

FOOD
Snake oil or Memory Elixer anyone

Okay, so food regulation is a little touchier. You’ve got a government agency, the FDA, in charge of regulation of big business food industry (aka Monsanto) as well as small farmers and food producers.

The FDA says that they play a “role in helping reduce the risk of malicious, criminal, and terrorist actions on the food supply.” Some would argue that Monsanto is participating in terrorist actions against our food supply and that the FDA is not doing anything about it. But in turn there are stringent regulations on small farmers, making it harder for them to make any kind of profit.

Let’s look at the history of the FDA … in 1906 the Food and Drug Administration (not their original name) came about to stop the tampering of food and the selling of drugs that weren’t quite right. Of course it wasn’t perfect from the start, so weird elixirs and products have made it through and caused the deaths of numerous people. As to be expected, the reach and the regulations of the FDA have expanded and modified.

The FDA has got a lot of territory to cover — everything from food safety and recalls and oversight of medicines and supplements. Not really surprising that some things fall through the cracks and that there might be some heavy lobbying by big business that might influence decision making.

Okay, after that very brief look, what have regulations in the food and drug industries done for us? In general, foods for us are safer to eat and when a recall is made, the information is disseminated quickly. In the cases of drugs, regulations are put in place to test them to make sure they do more good than harm before they are released.

INTERNET
Smartphone as Child Toy

And now we return to why we’re all here. The Internet. The big debate here is whether or not we should have the government in on regulating the Internet providers and what that means for the consumer.

There are going to be pros and cons no matter how we look at it. We can see the positives of automobile regulations, but we see the decrease in creativity. We can see the positives in food regulations, but we can see where big business is able to manipulate the system.

With regulation of the Internet, more people will have access within a reasonable cost. Right now, not all locales in the United States can even provide the access (e.g. locations in Montana and other rural states with low population) nor can big cities provide access to low-income students other than libraries. While access to the Internet at public libraries is definitely viable, many studies have been done in regards to the impact of lack of access to technology on low-income families and what they are missing educationally.

We already have a government agency in place, the Federal Communications Commission, which has begun to take on the regulations of the Internet. They’re reminiscent of the FDA in that they have a lot of territory to cover. They have purview over telephone, television, radio, and more. We’re going to see a tumultuous start and we’ll get through some rough patches, but ultimately the regulation of the Internet to make it accessible to the many will outweigh the bad.

Morgan C. A. Smith

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University, Maryland

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Will Baltimore push for the expansion of Broadband services?

In recent history, Baltimore has been locked in an effective monopoly of service provision for high speed internet access, with the major player being Comcast, and the only other option a small company called Port Networks, which functions on Comcast’s network. The stranglehold of network choices causes issues of speed and equity across the city.

Baltimore has operated under what is called the “Comcast Franchise,” defined as a non-exclusive agreement, since 2004. Comcast pays 60 cents per cable TV subscriber per month plus 5 percent of gross revenue for cable TV services for the right to use public property to deliver its product. Comcast is required to pay additional fees when using city conduit or poles. (Baltimore Sun, 9-22-16). The key is that it is non-exclusive, but we have not seen Verizon Fios, the other major provider of broadband internet come to the city. Comcast is operating on copper wire systems, unlike many regional cities and competitors with a fiber system, and thus the speeds are spotty and unreliable. (Source)

Comcast is popular for having one of the worst customer service experiences, and it turns out it extends to their agreement with Baltimore as well. In a recent editorial, The Baltimore Sun exposed just some of the issues with the “franchise” agreement, such as Comcast not adhering to agreed upon customer service wait times, and coding errors which lead to Comcast underpaying fees associated with the agreement. These fess could have gone to improving the network, but due to accounting errors may be hard to recover. (Baltimore Sun, 3-1-16).

Often thought to have been stopped by the city and the franchise agreement, Verizon Fios is believed to have made the business decision not to expand to the city, and has mostly stopped expanding its fiber networks nationwide. Even after citizen activism to try to encourage Fios to expand in 2013, they still would not commit to Baltimore. (Source)

One question we can now consider is whether Verizon’s refusal to expand their network to Baltimore city is now a violation of net neutrality rules, which essentially require the major service providers, as common carriers, to provide service equally. Does this apply to regional areas? Can Verizon be forced to adapt, or penalized because of the lack of effort? These are some new questions which will hopefully be answered soon, and we can encourage the FCC to look into this matter.

What are the options to prevent Baltimore from being left behind in broadband speed more than it is already? One option Baltimore considered in the past was building its own fiber network, but this didn’t get very far. Could Baltimore ultimately revisit building its own network? Will a change in leadership in the mayor’s office and city council bring a difference to the city? These important issues will likely unfold beginning this Fall, and we should all be paying attention (on our rather slow compared to everywhere else in the state internet connection.)

 Matt Achhammer

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

 

Referenced links:

Comcast’s Franchise w/ Baltimore ends December, 2016 & there are no competitors. Hearing December 1 at 6:30 PM at the War Memorial building across from City Hall.

https://www.reddit.com/r/baltimore/comments/3uruoh/comcasts_franchise_w_baltimore_ends_december_2016/

Better broadband should be part of Baltimore’s Comcast negotiations

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-comcast-contract-20160301-story.html

Broadband got its hearing in City Council, but improving it won’t be easy

http://technical.ly/baltimore/2016/03/03/broadband-got-hearing-city-council-improving-wont-easy/

Redlining high-speed Internet service

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-verizon-letter-20160202-story.html

Activists call on city leaders to push Verizon to bring FiOS to Baltimore

https://www.baltimorebrew.com/2015/07/30/activists-call-on-city-leaders-to-push-verizon-to-bring-fios-to-baltimore/

Comcast’s Monopolistic Hold on Baltimore City

http://www.splicetoday.com/baltimore/comcast-s-monopolistic-hold-on-baltimore-city

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A Digital Burn Book

In the most Jesuit fashion – given the heat and corruption during this scandalous election, most especially – what a pivotal time for us all to pause, observe, and reflect. Of course, this not only applies to our immediate physical surroundings but, now more than ever, we’re presented an opportunity to reflect on what (of ours) is potentially floating around the vast digital universe. From our parties’ polarizing rhetoric flashing the media daily to personal emails being hacked on an international scale, it seems every word – written or otherwise – is deemed “hackable or discoverable” today within the global village (IL Senator Richard Durbin). Former National Security Council spokesman to President Obama, Tommy Vietor, perhaps put it best indicating how “the volume of hacking is a moment we all have to do a little soul searching.” Sure, why not soul search a little since we’re fully transparent and privacy is obsolete. Do you actually believe those snaps are erased from the Internet after ten seconds? How about those passwords into your online bank accounts?

Regardless, it seems Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, will be diving deep into his soul after his colorful freedom of speech was recently exploited in the national limelight. Hacked directly from Powell’s personal Gmail account, explicit language surfaced regarding a wide array of public figures, concerns facing our national security, and much more. His comments included, but were certainly not limited to, Hillary’s greediness and “national disgrace” Donald Trump “taking it to the convention” as a result from the media desperately chasing higher ratings.

Piggybacking off of Clinton’s latest breach, and weeks following the DNC chairwoman and Former CIA Director being found in the exact same predicament, clearly no one – no matter how powerful – is safe anymore. But were they ever safe to begin with, especially when their work is magnified onto a national stage? Even amid yet another prospective Russian hacking encounter, some government officials are finally barking at the media with an appropriate counter: Don’t blame Russia – blame yourself. Often whimsical SC Senator Lindsey Graham, for instance, commented tongue-in-cheek on the ever-evolving privacy issue with, “I’m, like, ahead of my time,” since he’s allegedly never emailed before in his professional career. Emphasis on allegedly – only time will tell.

Despite his many critics in this media-blitzed culture, Graham’s “solution” to hacking actually triggered agreement among others, including former chair people of Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve – some of which even operated in their roles (admittedly) under an email pseudonym for their own protection. Furthering discussion abroad in Pakistan, in sharp contrast, most political leaders agree to speak to the press only when the batteries are removed from their devices or they “[cover] the microphones with a pillow.” And rightfully so, considering everyone’s legacy is continually questioned and remains at risk for international scrutiny – even, unfortunately in this day in age, posthumously. So are these tactics to remain secure and private becoming the new digital norm?

Entertainment and popular culture, too, has their hands in the hacking debate. Television’s Mr. Robot is quickly gaining traction atop the Emmy stage, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight took an admirable stab at encryption policies, and The Washington Post coupled Secretary Powell’s overt comments with passages from the Mean Girls’ burn book. Whether you believe President George W. Bush actually made out with a hot dog or read into Powell’s jarring comments on President Bill Clinton’s ongoing infidelity, these digital burn books sell at precipitous rates. But this frequent gossip and public shaming inevitably led to more overarching questions regarding our freedom of speech and, more importantly, our privacy – or lack thereof. Ironically, while these issues have been brought to the forefront of public policy, the individuals who would be spearheading the strategic plans are the epicenter to the concerns in the first place.

Since there is such a fine line between showcasing a few juicy emails from a political candidate and having complete access to someone’s identity, hacking remains a watered-down federal felony; this is seen, firsthand, with how seldom the media tracks these hacking investigations in the public eye (and whether they are happening at all from the FBI). Plaguing the front pages with Secretary Powell’s or Clinton’s solicited opinions has led to insurmountable interest from audiences ethically posing the question if hacking legalities – for the media, especially – actually trumps their imminent publicity in seeking stronger ratings. Likewise, will the 2016 election season be the worst (or perhaps the best?) we see of it, or will it only be exacerbated in the years to come for every industry exposed with digital media presence? Where is the limit – and when will it be drawn? Given the ubiquity of emerging media today – or according to Mean Girls, at least – the limit does not exist, yet.


Doug J. Umberger

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

 

 

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The Hype Cycle: Christmas 2016 is Judgment Day for Virtual Reality?

Within the past few years society has slowly become exposed to innovative technologies such as 3D Printers, 360 Cameras, and VR/AR equipment such as the Oculus Rift. Although the capabilities of these technologies can be seen across the span of the digital domain, these unreleased devices still seem very new and foreign to common society. With that being said, Gartner’s Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies factually proves that these technologies are going to influence society much sooner than we think.

3D Printers, are today’s flagship innovation that has unrestricted potential to influence the future of physical object production. Today, 3D printers have the ability to design and manufacture an unfathomable amount of physical objects in the comfort of a users home that eliminates the traditional manufacturing supply chain. Not enough users truly understand the power of 3D printers, the ability to create house hold materials in a matter of minutes. Having access to a 3D printer is ideal for users in creative and engineering fields who want to envision their ideas and thoughts as physical prototypes, the potential for empowerment across multiple homes, industries, and fields is endless.

Tech Crunch sheds light on an even more eye opening concept:

“Similar reasoning holds true for 3D printed edibles. We’re already living a future consisting of smartwatches that can track our vitals. Sending that data to a food-based 3D printer would allow the machine to prepare the optimal meal or nutritional supplements for each individual throughout the day. Who wouldn’t want to replace the microwave in their kitchen with a new appliance that was capable of producing meals near-instantly, personally compiled from fresh ingredients?”

It’s evident that the potential for home and corporate 3D printing is tremendous, and we have not even scratched the surface of what is in store for society. The question remains, how and when will we see widespread adoption of 3D printers in the home of American consumers?

Unlike 3D printing, VR and AR tech inches closer and closer to redefining video content across the digital environment.

In 2008 Gartner reported that Augmented and Virtual reality was 10 years away from from mainstream adoption. Academic individuals were hasty to dismiss this as true, but within the next year major companies allocated multimillion dollar investments into the research and development of AR technology in smartphones. Over time companies such as Blippar and Aurasma changed public opinion by entering the market through AR browsing technology. Jump a few years in time, Gartner’s statement held true, translation companies such as Quest Visual, and Google translate have incorporated AR functionality into their optical tools. Additionally, emerging AR companies are focusing on print and packaging for marketing purposes and are ultimately finding success in the online domain.

Today, more and more consumer brands are dipping their fingers in the ocean that is an augmented online browsing experience. This is just the start of the potential craze for AR to exist in online markets, browsers are currently expanding their products to fit the emerging digital environment – allowing these companies to input their original strategy, and new technology into existing markets to ultimately end with the same result.

 

Although Gartner predicted a rapid adoption to the consumer market, VR is leading the race towards widespread consumption. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend a annual technology and broadcasting conference held by the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas. At this event I personally experienced the vast span of existing technology, software and equipment that to support Virtual Reality in a mainstream setting. If there was one reoccurring theme that was consistent within the presentations of the industry’s product specialists, it was that VR is going to catch on like wild fire, and it’s going to ignite the gasoline that has been embedded within the digital domain for the past ten years.

VR, simply put, is the future of online video, companies have developed the technology to facilitate this new experience, and the content is being created, everywhere. Most non-tech savvy individuals view VR as silly because of the cheap cardboard aesthetic of the initial devices such as Google Cardboard and Google Glass. These individuals have simply not been exposed to the potential of the beautifully created technology that is impending on society. In reality, 360 video and VR are perpetually progressing with the curation of creative, amazing content from all over the world. YouTube has been supporting 360 video content for quite some time, and it seems to only be growing in both popularity and awareness.

What’s more exciting, is that VR is booming at the professional level, young influencers such as Ben Curtis are proceeding with large scale VR deals and talent to facilitate a bright and influential future of mainstream VR content. This means we should see VR integrated into the world of cinema entertainment on an even deeper level than the content created by VR companies themselves—VR is eagerly waiting the opportunity to enter into a diverse set of industries and make its impact on mainstream society.

Ben Smith, a former Google and YouTube Exec, is an active investor in VR and Digital Media. He has laid out a set of factors as to the imminent adoption of conventional society:

  1. The Content is happening- content is being developed on an international scale, just waiting for VR to reach eyes, ears, and minds of the average user.
  2. The Incentives are all there – Tech companies leading the innovation of VR software and hardware are making strides towards furthering consumer platform adoption. Ben predicts that by Christmas of this year, VR tech from Sony, Oculus, Samsung, and HTW will be widely available and ready to be wrapped up in holiday cheer.
  3. VR Startups are generally 6 months into 18th month funding cycles- Startups tend to operate in 18-month funding cycles, knowing that a large mass of VR startups was funded in mid 2015, we can assume that VR startups have used less than half of the money raised this past year. Logically, this leaves a large sum of capital for these companies to make drastic improvements and implementation decisions within the next 6 months to gain traction for seeking more capital investment.

Garners hype cycle suggests that VR hype and attention will slow down by mid summer of this year, but will quickly skyrocket in the fall as PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and Vive launch their products into the consumer market. By the end of 2016, VR startups will see the end of their 18-month development cycle, which is a perfect for the ecosystem to create and define itself to consumers on a large scale.

As a result of the facts that have been presented by Gartner, and the status of these VR startups Christmas of 2016, will truly be the deciding event that predicts the future of Virtual Reality technology and the potential empowerment of all facets within society.

If you want to stay on top of all things VR as December 25th 2016 gets closer, keep these thoughts in your peripheral vision:

  1. Watch for the emergence and evolution of YouTube and other VR video platforms
  2. Which company will be the initial players in the market, and how quickly will these VR devices diffuse within society? Which company will be the defining brand for this innovation, think of how the iPhone defined the smartphone market.
  3. How will VR handle their application and application content? How flourishing is their portfolio? How easy is it to access?

All I can say is that I’m excited for what is to come, I think we’ll see extensive progress in both content and technology development to make this more and more attractive for the average consumer. For those of you who are worried about the price, access and functionality of VR tech it is safe to say your bases are covered. These companies have taken extensive time to make sure these products are consumer ready and available on a large scale at the point of launch. As for price, it will be reasonable but will have a price tag that would be expected of an emerging technology.

Before you know it, VR and AR content will be popping up in the Facebook and Instagram feeds of the masses ready to change the world.

John Acunto @johnnyAVisuals

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

 

Sources:

http://www.thevideoink.com/features/opinion/quickly-will-online-video-transition-vr/#.VyPI1KMrLdf

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gartnergroup/2015/10/30/digital-humanism-trends-to-watch-in-gartner-2015-emerging-technologies-hype-cycle/#4a44098838b9

 

http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/26/whats-next-for-3d-printing-hype-cycle/

http://www.nanalyze.com/2016/04/affective-computing-and-ai-emotion-recognition/

 

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Blurred Virtual Lines

tech.png

Technology is going to change human connection forever with the creation of Virtual Reality and Second Life online worlds.  “Researchers believe new immersive technology could lead to isolation, but maybe when social needs are met online, people won’t need in-person interaction as much” (Kim).  These online worlds are a place for people to escape their everyday lives to live the life they’ve always wanted.  “With VR, it is possible that instead of simply escaping reality by focusing on a TV show, for example, people may choose to replace an unhappy reality with a better, virtual one” (Kim).  Second Life gaming has been around since the 1990’s with the creation of the Sims videogame.  Both children and adults alike played this videogame.  Some saw it as just a videogame, but others saw it as their way to escape reality and live their lives through the characters.  Second Life is now a virtual world instead of just a video game like is has been in years past.

The newest videogame craze is World of Warcraft.  This game is similar to Sims, but has proven to be much more addictive and actually quite dangerous and unhealthy.  Two extreme addictions to World of Warcraft have caused death because players lose themselves in the universe.  “In 2004, Zhang Xiaoyi, a 13-year-old from China, reportedly committed suicide after playing WoW for 36 consecutive hours, in order to ‘join the heroes of the game he worshipped” (Kim).  Another reported death took place in 2009 when “a three-year-old girl from New Mexico tragically passed away from malnutrition and dehydration; on the day of her death, her mother was said to have spent 15 hours playing the game” (Kim).

Virtual Realities and Second Life world are so dangerously unhealthy and addicting, that a WOWaholics Anonymous has been created in order to bring the 60+ hour-a-week users back to reality.  “The Internet and virtual realities easily satisfy such social needs and drives—sometimes [they are] so satisfying that addicted users will withdraw physically from society” (Kim).  As Virtual Reality and Second Life continue to grow, the worlds will probably become so realistic that it will be nearly impossible to tell the different between Virtual and real life.   Are people really willing to trade in real life physical relationships for online transactions with people they will never actually meet?

 Stephanie Smith  @Smith32Steph

Emerging Media Graduate Student

Loyola University

 

 

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