Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quality Time Through Second Life

I'm a Geographical Bachelor. That is, I have to provide for my family by working on a different location than they live. I've been doing it for just over 14 months. I typically go home for three days every two weeks. This is not one of my weekends to go home. Because my work and home locations are along the I-95 corridor, in addition to gas I have about $20 in tolls each way.

Finding things to do with the kids has been challenging. Caleb will talk on the phone, but Joshua won't. He just has no interest in it.

Then I found Second Life. I took a Master's class called Critical Systems Technologies. I posted the paper I wrote for that class here. I was introduced to the concept of virtual worlds. I'd known of second life since 2006 or 2007, but had no clue what to do with it. As part of the class, we created accounts and they showed us around. I installed it on my computer when I got home.

I realized that since Joshua has always been highly intuitive with video games, it might just be that thing I can use to stay connected with him while I'm away. I was right. He loves it. If anything, if you don't set a limit on him, he'll be on it for hours.

And so, today, I got a call from him asking if I could log in. Thanks to the video chat function, we were able to talk all the way through it. Joshua likes going through the Stargate we found on a place called Huffman Prairie.

And so, I present to you the family picture, circa 2011-2012. That's us in some kind of subway at a Starfleet Academy island. My wife is heavily into the vampire thing, and Joshua watches some of the shows with her, hence his avatar. I went with "Male Student".


Second Life is hardly the safest place to be. Joshua isn't allowed to "play" unless I'm in there with him, or at least in the same room. While I was home at Christmas, I paced around the kitchen reading a book on my iPad while he played Second Life.

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