Virtual Worlds are becoming a hot topic. Is it a complete waste of time or does it actually provide benefits to people?
The article "Toys with a Second Life" talks about Webkinz which is puzzling. There are already websites where children and play games online and have their own pets such as Neopets which has existed long before Webkinz. Purchasing real life merchandise is optional not required like the Webkinz. But the real question is that should we be concerned about how much we are exposing children to virtual worlds? What if they want to spend more time on virtual worlds instead of interacting in the real world? This could cause a significant change in how society works. There is nothing inherently wrong with virtual worlds, but we have to be concerned about excess.
The iReport "'Naughty Auties' battle autism with virtual interaction" talks about how they use virtual worlds to combat autism. Which goes to show that virtual worlds can have both positive effects, not just negative ones. The only problem would be in the event the internet stops working or there are power outages for the inviduauls relying on virtual worlds for their social lives, will they be able to survive without it? While its great that they are enriching their social lives, but they should consider giving the real world another chance.
Moving on from social aspects. Virtual worlds can foster creativity, since digital content is easily distributed and created. A lot of people use virtual worlds as sources for creating mashups. Such as video game models to create short films. An example being Top FPS which is a parody of First Person Shooter videogames and the reality TV show Survivor
What is the future of virtual worlds? On one hand, it may become a vacuum where people endlessly waste their time and life. On the other hand, isn't that the point of technology? To make life so easy and convienent so we can afford to spend countless hours doing leisurely activities instead of backbreaking labor like our ancestors. Personally, I think virtual worlds are currently quite limited. When they come out with virtual worlds where you can directly interact within the virtual world instead of just looking at the world through a computer screen, that will be exciting and frightening. Will future virtual worlds make people want to stay hooked up to machines all the time? Virtual worlds may cause life to change significantly in the future.