Saturday, July 2, 2011

FLASH! Major Changes in Adult Verification Policy

Hello, readers!

If you've been following me, you know that I've described the processes that adults can use to get access to the adult content of Second Life.  None of us have been happy with these systems, to say the least, and we griped about them a lot and wished for the good old days when everyone in SL simply WAS an adult, with no need for all the mumbo-jumbo.

Well, we got our wish...sort of.  There is no more requirement for Payment Information on File.  There is no more need to give the age verification system a valid drivers license or other proof of age.  Now there is just...a checkbox.

Yes, dear readers, a checkbox.  The Honor System.  I created a new alt, just to see if it was true...

 Here's my new account, with a throwaway email address and an arbitrary birthdate.

Once the account was created, I signed in with my new name and password to the website, and hit the Age Verification button in "My Account".  This is the page that appeared.

When I checked the box promising that I was an adult, this confirmation window showed up.  Bim-bam, adult I am!

Look, LL...I'm an adult and I enjoy adult activities in SL.  I am also a parent and I know damn well that even "good" kids are going to check that little box.  Yes, it's my job as a parent to control my kids' web activities...but what about all those parents out there who aren't doing their jobs?  Now we are going to have to deal with THEIR kids.  (Not that we didn't have to before, of course, but this will make it much worse.)

EDIT:  To add to the above:  A mentor colleague repeated my test, but used a later birthdate so as to appear as a "teenager".  The interface would not allow him to check the Adult rating.

Just to be clear:  An underage person must LIE to get access to adult content.  Aside from the morality issues of that, it has a legal significance.  If a kid gets themselves, or an adult, in trouble over sexual issues, it is (arguably) the minor's fault.  Kids, if you check this box, you are entering a legal, moral, and emotional minefield.  DON'T. 

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