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Spirit Pleides

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  1. The problem with child avatars, from a psychological perspective, is that the majority of people who have survived abusive or "lost" childhoods have no desire to ever somehow "recreate" or "recapture" a childhood. In Real Life (RL) I work every day with survivors of sexual, psychological, verbal and physical abuse in childhood and I have yet to meet a single one who feels the need to play a child in RL--or for those that use virtual worlds, adopt a child persona. I _have_ however, met people who engage in RL and VRE child roleplay who are fixated on infantile activities, these are usually people who have been sexually abused as children, and they "relive the trauma" by spending hours as a child online or in certain adult RL venues. Because my sims support trauma survivors of all kinds (combat, abuse, rape, hostage, natural/manmade disasters, and so on), from a wide range of cultures, nationalities and ethnic identities (these are real people using SL as a social support tool in recovery--they do not "roleplay" or "game"), I have had to ban child avatars from the membership areas, because RL victims of childhood abuse get so upset when they see a child avatar that they cannot focus on the meetings or work we do inworld. I really am puzzled, as a PTSD and psychological trauma expert with thirty years in the field, why any adult would play a child -- especially when they have been traumatized as children. As I said, after working with hundreds of trauma survivors, I have yet to meet a single one who wants to "relive" or "recreate" a lost or traumatized childhood. In fact, their avoidance even repulsion of a child role (dependent, powerless, underdeveloped, engaged in immature play and action) extends to many not ever having children, and avoiding interaction with children in RL--because the hurt is so deep that it is unbearable. Most PTSD survivors work to empower themselves, to never be powerless or dependent like the role of a child is. I have some ideas as to why people want to play children, but they are not included in Linden Labs policy/thoughts about child avatars ( http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Child_Avatar ). One should note the degree of righteous indignation and rage that is encountered when one bans a child avatar or refuses to work with adults driving child avatars...rather than simply say to themselves, "well okay, I understand and have empathy for the members here that are triggered or made anxious by child avatars played by adults, so I'll go somewhere else on the grid, thank you any way," the common response from adults driving child avatars is extreme: Cursing, outrage, attempts to make the refusing resident feel guilty or unjust....based on my long experiences in psychology, the reaction is a bit more extreme than the situation warrants. I have been asked to leave sims that require roleplay costumes (medieval, Fae, historical) and I was cool with it--returning later in the right outfit. I also do not appear at educational events in clubwear. I don't get extremely enraged, each resident is entitled to set the standards for their sim, parcel, event, or RP game. So...Like I said, my experience in RL of working with law enforcement in forensic psychology capacity, years spent working with crime victims sex crime victims, and their perpetrators, pedophiles, perverts, sexual sadists...well...I would assert that there is a bit more to the child avatar being played by an adult behind the PC than mere "recapturing the carefree days of youth." I wil say firmly, that an adult spending hours and hours identifying as a child in a child avatar is psychologically unhealthy. Now that I have made that statement, I look forward to avalanche of abuse, drama, and shrill denials and attacks by those adults playing children online. :-(
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