Teen Second Life too safe?

I had to add this little addendum to that last item about social-networking options because you don't see comments like this in the news too often. Liz Lawley, mother of a 14-year-old and director of the social-computing lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology, told PC World she's "strongly against some of the restrictive methods used online to segregate adults from children in an attempt to protect kids from predators. On Second Life, for example, she can't interact with her son because he has to be in the teen grid and she has to be in the adult grid," which means she can't learn about how he uses technology and he can't learn from her in real time how to function in "a social context" (I heard this frustration from educators at the NECC conference in San Antonio earlier this month – see "2 virtual worlds" – that keeping teen and adult "worlds" was educationally constrictive). Lawley said she feels "shutting down sites or trying to shut out people won't solve the problem of sexual predators." Education will, she said. Sexual predation is not unique to the online world, she added, where we don't shut down churches or bar kids from them because child abuse has occurred in some of them.


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