Anyone remember "Active Worlds"? My brother brought it up earlier today. What is was was a chat program in which my brother and sister and I all had accounts. The jist of it was that we could walk around this 3D world that was thousands of virtual acres, and we could build houses and chat with other people who appeared to be other good-willed netizens.
Given the recent hoo-hah surrounding child safety on the net, I think this childhood experience should be re-evaluated. Thinking back, it was a very shifty situation. Chris has concluded that our parents had no clue what we were doing, and must have assumed that we were playing a regular videogame. After all, what else would explain why they'd allowed us to join such a sketchy online community when we were no older than 10. Sketchy how, you ask? Well, let's just put it this way -- It wouldn't surprise me if half the Active Worlds members had purchased their first computer by pawning off their large black cargo van, and then paid the first month's internet bill by liquidating their vast supply of delicious candy. Having vacated the playground parking lots, these people now found themselves in their reclining swivvle chairs, basking in the glow of CRT monitors while "surrounded" by small children just itching to talk to strangers.
Thinking back, I remember that every once in awhile, we'd meet someone online who was especially talkative. They'd chat, and find out the general area where we lived, then they'd invite us over to their virtual home, which they'd built at N450 W450... Sound creepy? Yep. But at the time? We'd just made a "friend".
In a way, my siblings and I were sort of like pioneers in 1995/6. Remember when drinking and driving was cool, simply because people didn't know any better? While it may be a stretch to call them "pioneers", we, as children of the unguarded internet, were like those first drunk-drivers -- cruising around the interweb, drunk on information and communication, and running into pedophiles like they were potholes.
Ok, so I just googled "Active Worlds" in order to find a picture, and found a site that seems somewhat suspicious. My suspicions seemed to be confirmed when I clicked a link to read reviews of the different "worlds" (there were a bunch). The only review was for "AWTeen". Here's an excerpt:
So, what could one say about a world such as AWTeen? Well for one it is a diverse place, with younger folks from all over the globe... as the world title, suggest it is a place for teens and teens at heart.
"TEENS AT HEART"?? Hmm... So what qualifies someone as a teen at heart? Is this a valid designation?
"Statutory rape??? Lord no, your honour! I'm just a teen a heart!"
And sorry about the lack of updates or contact of any sort. I've kind of been neglecting the ol' blog -- what with having worked EVERY day since I got back home about 2 weeks ago. And tomorrow, I'm going to Hailfax to host a high-school model UN conference, so... Hurrah!!
RUSSIA: Where the men and men... and the women are too.
If I could be an eternal match-maker, arranging marriages over generations and generations, what would I do? I'd probably mate people with various odd phobias, creating whole families of people who were terrified of ridiculous things. Like bread. At the same time, I would go through the same process with people who really loved those same things that the other families had phobias toward. Over the generations, these would probably turn into fetishes. I would then force both these families to live together. And then I'd film it and make it into a sitcom. It would be called... People Who are Scared of Things and People Who Aren't. I would win a Daytime Emmy.