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