Because Second Life places age restrictions on its residents, teenagers can't participate in the virtual world. It's not that Second Life is exclusive -- it's that Linden Lab wants to protect teens from the sometimes bawdy content that residents stumble across. But there's a separate virtual world altogether for users between the ages of 13 and 17: Teen Second Life.
Teen Second Life is a completely separate three-dimensional virtual world exclusively for people between the ages of 13 and 17. Teen Second Life operates on the Teen Second Life grid, which is inaccessible from the regular Second Life Grid.
Teen Second Life shares nearly all of the same features as regular Second Life. A basic account is free, but a premium account allows you to buy land. Teens can customize their avatars, build an endless variety of objects, and buy and sell in Linden dollars. They can also chat and send in-world instant messages, just like the older residents.
Safety is obviously a big priority whenever a teen community is concerned. Linden Lab staffs the teen world with liaisons who are there to help teens find their way around and to keep an eye out for potential problems. Here are some of Linden Lab's safety tips for Teen Second Life:
- Never reveal real-world personal information to anyone
- Never agree to meet someone in the real world
- Keep passwords a secret
- Log off immediately if you feel uncomfortable or harassed at any time
- Report any strange or inappropriate behavior by going to the "help" menu and clicking "report abuse"
- Share your Second Life experience with your parents
The virtual world of Teen Second Life is tiny compared to regular Second Life. According to Linden Lab statistics, Teen grid avatars make up less than one percent of active Second Life users. Teen Second Life receives heavy competition from similar teen virtual worlds like Virtual MTV and Habbo. But no matter the returning rates of these young residents, they at least have a virtual world outlet provided by the Teen Second Life community.
Part of belonging to the virtual world of Second Life includes participating in its economy. Next, we'll learn how users make a buck in the virtual world and how some make real world money, too.