Virtual Child Predation to Stop Physical Predation
At the time of writing this, there has been a massive brouhaha between the German Government and the virtual environment Second Life, over two objectionable issues.
One of these issues has been the use of Second Life as a distribution medium for photos and videos of physical world child pornography, in which actual children have been harmed, tortured or depraved. This is totally unacceptable, and the backlash against these people is strong, and fully justified.
However, the backlash has also been against another activity, unrelated to the pornography and paedophilia activities so viciously condemned. That has not prevented the condemners to turning on it as well however.
Age play is a type of roleplaying, where a person chooses to portray themselves in an age group other than the one they actually belong to. It can be morally tricky if this age is that of a child when the person is an adult. The trickiness comes from what is done as that age. If used by an older person to prey on children by pretending to be one of them, it is reprehensible and inexcusable.
However, if used by an older person to pretend to be a child as that is what makes their partner sexually aroused, then the morality is far less clear cut.
There will always be an unfortunate segment of the population who find the idea of sex with children appealing. They are usually afflicted with a sexual dysfunction that makes children more appealing than their own age group. The danger is, if they cannot achieve what they desire, and that desire grows over time, then they may head out into the physical world, seeking what appeals to them. This is when abusive situations involving adults and children occur, resulting in vanished children, or intense psychological scarring.
Age play has received a lot of negative connotation since the paedophiles were discovered operating in VR to use it as a medium to spread their wares. The two activities are not actually related, although they might seem similar at a casual glance.
It is difficult to see how the latter could be confused with the former, as has been the case. In fact, Germany is actively trying to legislate against age play, calling it virtual child pornography. In a way they are right. Aside from that there are no children involved, and it's not pornography but sexual relations between individuals - countries that desire continuing procreation usually don't outlaw this - Germany are correct in that it is indeed virtual.
Using Age Play to Halt Abuse of Children
Since, as outlined above, some people are afflicted by a sexual dysfunction that inclines them towards children, it is unlikely that a cure for child predators is going to be found through normal means.
However, it is possible that allowing them to fulfill their fantasies of sex with children, whilst at the same time not having any actual children involved, would mediate their desires, giving them an outlet, thus greatly reducing the chances of having them seek release for their dysfunction out in the physical world by preying on actual children.
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