Some time ago I spotted an avatar wandering around Berlin who looked familiar, I don’t own a television and generally don’t watch daytime tv shows anyway, but I also don’t live under a rock and realised that this man was Dr. Phil, the psychologist and tv show host.
I was amused but also intrigued, nothing personal, but why would anyone want such an avatar and why was Draxtor Despres hovering around him?
Photo by Jerry Avenaim
Soon I realised that this Dr. Phil avatar was being being run by the real Dr. Phil, or at least someone from his tv show team.
They were filming inside Second Life for an upcoming episode.
I was rather cautious about what the episode would be about, most shows are about people with serious issues (or just a lack of self-control) and their topics can be rather sensationalist.
Nevertheless I decided to have a chat with the Dr. Phil avatar, because if the episode would be about what I expected it to be about (something like, help my husband spends all his time in a virtual world doing hanky panky) I thought this could be my chance of at least reminding them that some of us use Second Life for quite interesting and responsible things.
Having worked in the TV business myself I am well aware that nothing of their visit to 1920s Berlin and their chat with my might be used, or even edited in such a way that it supports whatever they want it to support.
But at least they had the footage of me telling them about what I use SL for, if they decide to use it or not.
Anyway, I soon learned that Ebbe Altberg (AKA Ebbe Linden, CEO of Linden Lab) was also interviewed by Dr. Phil and Ebbe knows how to handle himself when talking to the media.
And with its several million users, it could be a nice bit of PR for SL.
Let’s hope that we can make people realise that too much of anything is not good, but if you are addicted to gaming Second Life could offer you a way to at least be more creative and social with your computer and even try and make a living on it in stead of just spending money on games where you run around shooting everyone.
Even though that can be a lot of fun.
I am a hardcore gamer myself, have been since the early 1980s, maybe even late 1970 when my parents got the famous tennis game pong.
I can spend many hour in a row playing if I get my hands on a brilliant new game.
But eventually I get tired of it and want to go back to making my own world in stead of enjoying one someone else designed for me.
In the end gaming is just entertainment, just like watching tv, being on Facebook or reading books and yes, all those pursuits can be damaging as well if you spend 20 hours a day doing them, although you’re less likely to end up on Dr. Phil with those addictions.
Most people watch way too much tv and well, someone who reads literature all the time generally doesn’t upset anyone.
The first videos the Dr. Phil show has put online so far seem to share with the world that not all games are bad and Second Life seems to get some positive attention, being described as the good side of gaming.
Still, I can’t help but be a little worried about how our virtual world is going to be portrayed to the media, will we be part of the problem, or part of the solution?
The description of the episode does not bode well.
Won’t Work, Won’t Go to School: “My Son Just Wants to Game All Day”
Sarah says her 23-year-old son, Justin, is so consumed with playing video games that he dropped out of college, can’t hold a job and is neglecting his health — losing more than 50 pounds — and she fears he’ll die if he doesn’t stop. Sarah says she has tried cutting off Justin financially and giving him ultimatums, but he always finds a way to continue gaming to excess. Justin admits he can play 16 hours a day — sometimes lasting up to 30 hours straight — and says he would rather live in the virtual world than the real world. What could be driving his behavior? And, has his hobby become an addiction that could eventually kill him? With the help of Dr. Rachael Ross, co-host of the Emmy Award-winning show The Doctors, Dr. Phil opens Justin’s eyes to the potential health dangers he faces. Will it have an impact? Plus, how can Justin regain traction in his life?
Well, we will be able to judge for ourselves this Tuesday when it is going to be aired on American tv.
If someone finds out where the rest of us can watch it, let me know in the comments below.
Or perhaps, someone can stream it inworld!
Linden Lab published the following announcement regarding this upcoming episode, you can read it by clicking here.
There is a little preview online on the Dr. Phil website that you can see here and Drax put a video snippet on youtube as well;
The show has also started using hashtags on social media to start the discussion around this subject.
This gives us a chance to target his huge audience.
So it might be a good idea to start using the tags #drphil #gaming2excess to show people how you feel about Second Life.
And twitter Dr. Phil directly by using and .
Once I’ve seen the episode, I’ll add my opinion on it here.