CNN is currently reporting the heartbreaking story of a 14-year old Iraqi girl named Wurud who finds solace in the 3d online chat of Zwinky World.
The article suggests that many people who live in war-torn nations like Iraq seek pleasure in the escape of entertainment, which provides a psychological comfort that can nourish as much as food, water, shelter, and sanitation. However, due to their painful situations, they are often denied many of the luxuries we take for granted.
She bounces over to her computer. “And look — this is Zwinky World,” she says, referring to an online virtual reality world similar to Second Life. “And that’s me,” she says, pointing to her gothic avatar.
“I like the whole make-up thing. It’s awesome looking. They are wearing black, you know. I love black.”
“Zwinky is 3-D chat,” she explains patiently, clearly amused by my ignorance.
In Zwinky World, Wurud says she can escape the war all around her. She likes to shop at the virtual mall for T-shirts, dresses, shoes — “Everything,” she says. “That’s so fun!”
Wurud’s story is certainly something to consider the next time you’re racking up kills in the many, many games that glamorize chaos, violence, and destruction. For those young people who are actually living in a war, a more peaceful escape is what they desire.