According to findings at Stanford University, it may actually help people to have an avatar, which has implications for "residents" of Teen Second Life, Whyville.net, and of course grownup versions of virtual worlds. It has a lot to do with what having a virtual self can do for offline self-image, according to this NPR report. At Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, people visit for a new approach to losing weight, for example. They take photographs of the visitor's head, create an attractive avatar, or graphical image, of him and show this attractive self running – he actually sees himself losing weight, which seems to encourage him by showing him just how very possible it is to lose weight. So he proceeds to "try this at home" and virtual reality becomes reality. The lab also studies virtual identity. Lab researcher Jeremy Bailenson told NPR that as people with attractive avatars spend more and more time as their virtual selves, they tend to become more social – their confidence level goes up.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- New Facebook policy targets guns, other regulated items
- Google’s new learning tool that learns
- The flap over Talking Angela the chatbot app
- About the worldwide ‘selfie’ phenomenon
- How technology will improve the well-being of young adults
- Calling our children narcissists on ‘a sociopathic scale’: Really!?
- Nothing complicated about this: Read ‘It’s Complicated’!
- Teens’ own (wise) perspectives on life with social media
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Adults spend 11 hour a day using electronic media
- Smartphones that promise user privacy
- Author danah boyd on why teens and social media are ‘complicated’
- Security experts at RSA decry government hacking
- In defense of Internet safety education
- ‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game
- Confessions of a binge viewer
- People who suffer from so-called ‘game addiction’ have other problems