The Official Linden Blog carried one of its more serious topics today – allegations of child pornography. The blog post details the chain of events. Linden Labs’ reaction certainly demonstrates their belief in stamping out anything related to child exploitation and they deserve commendation for that.
Based on the blog post, I took the opportunity to use the SL search functionality and typed in ‘child’ – the result was everything from anti-child pornography groups through to childrens clothing and body-shape stores. The second location we teleported to contained the following images:
Another location appeared more innocuous but still contained body shapes like this:
We’re not asserting that the locations we saw are involved in child pornography. However, these images are obviously of under-18’s. I saw another picture of a child-like body shape for sale in nothing but panties which contained a sales description of ‘pert preteen body’.
That on its own may not constitute pornography but it’s difficult to rationalise the use of child body shapes beyond some very unhealthy intentions. There are people in SL who want to be carefree and live like a child, but arguably this isn’t the majority of the market.
We’ve contacted Linden Labs via their PR company for comment and we’ll report any response.
Update (November 2007): Reuters is reporting that the UK have undercover police investigating pedophilia in virtual worlds including Second Life. Second Life Insider is also running a story on Wonderland sim and Sky News’ reporting on it.
Update 2: Croga is an excellent site that provides confidential information to those concerned about their viewing of child pornography online.