Teens in the soon-to-be-only Second Life

By Anne Collier

There will soon be only one Second Life. The teens version of the virtual world will soon be shut down, its creator Linden Lab has announced, and users 13-17 will be brought into the one and soon to be only Second Life. According to Betterverse.org, “Originally it was announced that only 16-17 year olds were being brought over. But Linden Lab has revised that policy and has come up with a plan for younger residents as young as 13 years old to come into the Main Grid, in a limited way.” Some schools (e.g., in Suffern, N.Y.) and nonprofit organizations (e.g., Global Kids) have been operating classes and other learning opps in Teen Second Life. Though many of them knew or suspected Linden Lab’s closure of the teen version was coming for economic reasons and some were for it, they weren’t entirely sure how it would work to bring minors into the “main grid.” The picture’s now becoming clearer. In its blog, Linden Lab says that “13- to 15-year-old students affiliated with these organizations will be unable to visit any regions [in Second Life] except those of their hosting organization, and those accounts will not have the ability to search the Grid or to purchase items from the Marketplace.” And outside experts (authors, researchers, curators, businesspeople, etc.) will be able to join virtual classes at their teachers’ invitation (without the background check that was required before entry to Teen Second Life). [See also “‘Red-light district’ makes virtual world safer.”]

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