It’s interesting to note that not many things have changed in the fifteen or so years that Sherry Turkle’s article was first published.
I’ve never really given virtual reality much thought. In my own personal opinion, I don’t understand the fascination of role playing games and they make my head hurt. However, I can understand the addiction that can arise in pretending to be someone you aren’t for a couple of hours. Think about it, isn’t that what actors do when they play a character? The difference there is that actors limit their “role-playing” to the movie or play they are performing in and “regular” people sometimes let it take over their lives to the exclusion of everything else. I read once about this couple who lost their children because they weren’t taking care of them and they were only all about playing those virtual online games. Ironically, they met each other on that game, but I’m guessing they couldn’t fully function without that game in their lives. It makes me wonder how they had children in the first place.
Reading about virtual role-playing brought to mind this new show that has appeared on MTV called “Catfish,” and if I remember correctly it’s where people are introduced to people they have been talking online with and they find out that the person isn’t who they say they are. It’s just like Turkle said, “players commonly try to take things from the virtual to the real and are usually disappointed” (8). Most of the time the player is disappointed because they were lied to (at least on Catfish) but in these role playing games you can like a male someone and it turns out to be someone totally different. And in this sadistic world we live in with serial killers and homicidal maniacs, you can never be too careful who you are letting into your world, even if it is your virtual one.
One major thing that struck me in this article was how people have cybersex with someone else. I’m surprised that anyone would be okay with something like this because in my own personal opinion, emotional cheating is just as bad as physically having sex with someone else. If you are giving someone a little bit of your thoughts and emotions every day to someone who isn’t your significant other then you are cheating: no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It makes me feel as if I am lacking something that my partner needs and I can’t fulfill it.
Either way pretending to be someone you are not for any length of time is bound to take its toll on you and doing it for too long may warp your sense of self and cause you to become someone you aren’t. We become more than one person and taking on multiple personalities can be dangerous.