Editorial: How Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds and Social VR Platforms Can Reduce Isolation During a Potential SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic

O.K. it’s time to inject a little levity (thanks, Neobela!):

It’s so funny because it’s true. Second Life users make friends and build communities not based on physical proximity, but on mental and emotional connections between their avatars. That very basic fact, common to all virtual worlds and social VR platforms, may be a life-saver to those people who, either by choice or by circumstance, are forced to self-isolate in their homes because of quarantines and the imposition of social distancing policies by their governments.

And it’s not just Second Life. It’s any virtual world, and the concept applies to the newer social VR platforms like Sansar, too.

I am one of those depressed people who often walks away from a real-world interaction with a friend or acquaintance with an uplift in my mood. And I know that I often can replicate that response, when I interact with other people in a virtual world, too. My brain literally does not know the difference between a real-world interaction and a virtual-world one, and it responds the same way.

Of course, this works both ways: someone in my real life or or in virtual one can just as easily bring me down and depress me further. But the fact remains that social VR platforms and virtual worlds are built on the foundation of human communication. It literally doesn’t matter if those humans are living right next door or at the other end of the globe in our modern era of information technology. We can find our own community, people who share our thoughts, goals, and dreams, and literally build new worlds!

So, while the SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 outbreak continues, don’t forget to sign into your favourite social VR/virtual world platform(s) from time to time, to reconnect with your communities.

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One thought on “Editorial: How Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds and Social VR Platforms Can Reduce Isolation During a Potential SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic”

  1. Amen! I have read credible studies of social epidemiology from Johns Hopkins showing that having one friend ( versus none) has as much benefit as exercising, eating right, stopping smoking and drinking combined. Social contact also increases immunity to viruses.

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