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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Social Isolation and Second Life – Camury Reporting

Like other computer games, Second Life is a technological tool that has a great popular appeal with entertainment,  participating in educational activities and it is actually helpful in getting people to interact with each others.

Second Life allow thousands of users to coexist while taking part in a social activities  in a virtual space. People from different parts of the world enjoy SL through their own avatar's eyes. The virtual environment allows any kind of interactions between people who are unlikely or unable to do it in real life, in any form such as competition, cooperation or collaboration.

People communicate and establish social contacts and create relationship networks which end up in certain social behaviors.

There are many studies demonstrating that an excessive use of online games lead to  psychological problems. People with psycho-pathological disorders, depression, social anxiety and  chemical substances addictions are more likely to keep improper and abusive behavior in online interactions by forgetting their own real life and isolating themselves socially.

Social isolation is a devastating condition of the human psyche, since the human being is a social being. In some cases, when not caring enough, social isolation can cause illness or even death, because the individual cannot take care of himself . Some people who are socially isolated, are also unable to leave their homes to buy groceries or carrying out a paid activity which guarantees a solid subsistence.

It is a phenomenon often observed among older people with physical problems or low mobility.  But it can also be observed in populations of large cities with other age ranges and social groups. However, there are people who believe that online interactions can help those who are socially isolated and feel that social engagement offered by an online environment can encourage people to make small social contacts in their real lives. 

The question is: Does online social networking gives us the same support and happiness as an offline relationship? Personally, I think not, but virtual communication and online interactions that Second life makes possible, can indeed make some people happier as well as encourage them in their social relationships in real life.

Some people have difficulties when it comes to starting social relationships, they may prefer interactions on their computer instead of a face to face communication.  Anonymity and the absence of non-verbal communication makes contact seem less threatening. Plus, online interactions can be useful as an experience, helping some people feel more confident and secure in their future social relationships in real life.

My own conclusion is that people who keep an offline active social life are less likely to feel lonely, even if they are "addicted" to the Internet. It’s all about how we use the internet.

There is a need to maintain a balance between our real life and the imaginary world to which we dive in every time we log in Second Life. SL is a virtual world with endless possibilities. Not just for social entertainment but also for business.

 Does social engagement offered by an online environment help those who might be socially isolated or does SL make it worse?  Please leave a comment below.


  1. Good reporting Camury; you've covered all psychological aspects of social interaction in SL. Your final question can't be answered in a general way, for it's all relative to the individual. Some make deeper friendships in SL than they ever would in RL, for entirely different and personal reasons. Others just need to 'get out more' when it's become simply an addiction. Sociologically, as you point out, SL mirrors RL with less 'threat', which is bound to boost confidence in the less secure. There will always be the abusers, the abused, the manipulators, the creative geniuses, the egotistical and the socialites, in both walks of life. You'll find them everywhere, but in SL you can at least choose to avoid them or join them. In my own experience, I don't think SL makes isolation worse but is a godsend to those who need to be socially interactive and don't have the opportunity in RL. Putting the cat amongst the pigeons here though - I wholeheartedly believe that RL parents need to really limit their time in SL and concentrate on their children :)


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