Though I'd like to think that I grew callous to the treatment of MMOs in the mainstream media a long time ago, there's this bitter little flame deep inside me that is stoked every time I read a piece in the newspaper or see a bit on TV that's sensationalist, ill-informed, or just plain stupid. In the latest article to raise my ire, Fox reports on how MMOs create a uniquely unsafe environment, that puts online predators and mentally unstable people at an advantage in stalking their prey. Specifically, they claim that while people tend to have their guard up when surfing other online portals like dating sites or MySpace, people let are more at ease and trusting when it comes to bonding with guildmates, and this leaves them open to exploitation.
The article seems to be a reaction to the recent "Baby Grace" case, which really had less to do with the fact that the couple met on World of Warcraft and everything to do with the fact that they were complete sociopaths. While there are some positive stories buried in the article -- including the 40 married couples who made the transition from guildmate to soulmate between Everquest and Anarchy Online, author Catherine Donaldson-Evans just can't rein in the hyperbole, concluding her article by referring to the internet as a modern-day pandora's box. (I can't seem to find the roll-eye emote here...)