According to the authors of an article in the November/December 2010 issue of Rehabilitation Nursing, published by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN), for people with disabilities, visiting the virtual world Second Life® on the Internet is more than just entertainment; it’s a way to improve their quality of life by experiencing life beyond the limitations of their disabilities.
“In virtual worlds, computer-simulated environments host avatars, which are digital representations of a specific person,” the authors wrote. “The avatar can manipulate objects and participate in day-to-day activities that most people take for granted, such as walking, dancing, and communicating. Second Life (SL) provides benefits to people with disabilities such as information, socialization, and community membership. SL communities, groups, and activities help increase feelings of self-worth and empowerment.” For instance, people with disabilities who are unable to work in the real world may be able to find work or volunteer in SL.
Virtual worlds like SL have 3-dimensional layouts in which multiple users can interact and communicate with one another. SL is a free, online, computer-simulated environment where millions of real people are represented by avatars. A person may create an avatar that is similar in appearance and personality to him or herself or one that is entirely different. People with disabilities can choose whether to have their avatars exhibit their disabilities. Avatars can walk, fly, or teleport – instantly appear in another location on command – to thousands of locations and communicate with other real people from around the world through instant messaging or voice conversations.
Springboard would like to hear from anyone who has a disability who uses Second Life so that we can better understand its impact in all aspects of life.
This information should not be construed as "legal advice" for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.