More than a decade later, we inhabit a world of pervasive media and ubiquitous computing (think about the miniature computer in your pocket). We now accept as normal our engagement with virtual reality, including gaming, email, Skype and social media, and we feel more comfortable living in this world of simulation than previous generations did. Just as those living in the Matrix existed in an unreal world, we too can escape into our own fantasy worlds for as little or as long as we like. The continuing development of graphical interfaces in computing are creating ever more believable worlds; places where human features, gestures and language are being simulated successfully. “Virtual worlds” such as Second Life and Habbo Hotel or, for schoolchildren, Club Penguin captured our attention, becoming obsessions for some; places we visited when we fancied an alternative to a less-exciting reality, with personas and communities we built up over a period of time.
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Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.