A virtual online world is a three dimensional computer simulated environment. Virtual worlds allow users to interact with one another in real time. The ability to enter another world and communicate with others in that world has made virtual gaming very popular on the internet.
Online worlds require both immersion and interaction. A user must feel as though he exists in the virtual environment; he must feel as though the real world no longer exists. This feeling of immersion is accomplished using advanced technology that minimizes lag time when communicating and even focuses sound to the orientation of the user’s body.
Interaction in virtual online worlds is extremely important for users. Interaction focuses on the way users communicate with each other and interact in the virtual online world. Communication is usually accomplished via text or voice. Individual users also have the ability to create and change things in virtual worlds.
It’s a Good World After All
Virtual online worlds have gotten their fair share of press. As with anything new, there has been a lot of negativity associated with virtual online worlds. But there are lots of good things offered through virtual online worlds. One of the most obvious benefits of virtual online worlds is the ability for people to meet each other and communicate.
People from over the world and from all cultures can come together in virtual online worlds and share with each other. At the same time, people who are extremely shy can interact with others with no fear. Virtual online worlds can allow shy people to practice socializing in a safe environment where they will not be judged on looks or other superficial features.
Virtual online worlds have been praised for inspiring creativity. Many virtual worlds encourage members to bring their creative talents with them when they join. Second Life, a virtual online world with over ten million users, urges users to sing in nightclubs, design and sell clothing, create and show artwork, and write and share their work with others.
The Not So Good
Of the many negative comments made concerning virtual online worlds only a few seem to have any merit. One problem that virtual online worlds try to protect their users from is the possibility of meeting up with cyber-stalkers. A cyber-stalker is similar to a predator in the real world.
When interacting in virtual online worlds you may find someone who uses very inappropriate language or posts harmful content, especially if younger users are on the site, (they are often targets of cyber-stalkers). These people can be reported to the game’s creators and they will investigate the offenses. In most situations the person will be banned from the site and in severe cases may have their information turned over to authorities.
To stay safe in virtual online worlds users must take precautions. Each virtual online world will usually post their safety policies. Read them and know what the site you are joining allows. Do not ever give out your personal information for any reason while in virtual online worlds.
Virtual online worlds offer users worlds of fun. They offer creative expression and wonderful interaction. By taking a few precautions everyone can enjoy their time in virtual worlds.
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