Avatars and Aborigines

Recently, I read the book, Mutant Message Down Under: Message From Forever by Marlo Morgan (Cliff Street Books 1998). which was the story of a woman who walked with the aboriginals in Australia and learned the wisdom of the tribes. Beatrice learns about names from her aborigninal friend.

“You can be called by any name you want. Your name is how you want the world to address you. It reminds you of any specific issue you are giving attention to on this portion of your spiritual path. My name, for instance, Benalal, meaning brown duck, was chosen because I have been too serious most of my life. There must be a balance between lessons and play. I admire the duck’s ability just to float for the fun of it…”

It reminds me of when teens have avatars. Whether it’s through Habbo Hotel, Whyville, or SecondLife, rather than facing a crisis of who their ‘real’ vs. ‘not real’ self is, I think they are creating a self based on their developmental stage. It’s a self that is about a specific issue they are giving attention to. When I read articles about teens who have avatars and that they must be identifying with something more fake then real, it makes me ask the question, what is real? who is defining what is real? Creating an avatar is a safe way to explore what issue teens are giving attention to at this moment.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Identity development in Second Life

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Identity development is something many young people obsess over during their teen years. Second Life is a great place for them to work out their ever changing identities, just like MySpace, IMVU, or Gaia online are as well. A health class in New York that has an island with Suffern Middle School in Teen Second Life is going to explore identity formation by creating avatars that are beautiful and not beautiful and discussing why through one lens being portrayal by the media. Imagine the possibilities for authors and teens who identify strongly with their characters. What would it be like to not only read about Saphira in the Inheritance series but to embody her? Imagine reanactments of scenes from any book that could take an entire different direction from what was originally presented to the reader.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki