The imaginative virtual world Second Life is an appealing hangout for kids of all ages, but is rife with adult-themes and conversations that are best left to the adults or older teens. There is no longer a Teen Second Life, which once was a safer, monitored virtual world with minimal adult content. Instead, everyone is now routed to SecondLife.com, where they are able to chart their own course and socialize (via text or voice) with any of the millions of registered users from all over the world who also hang there. Areas are rated PG or Mature, but without the restrictions that existed with the teen version, there’s more opportunity for teens to end up chatting with an adult posing as a kid or wandering into some of the adult areas that exist (potentially exposing them to brothels, pornography, etc.).
Customizable 3-D avatars are a big draw, and options range from skin
color and hair styles to costumes and bust size, so the customization
possibilities are practically endless. The site is free to join, but it
has limitations unless you upgrade to a monthly membership. The site’s
currency, Linden Dollars, can be purchased with U.S. dollars or earned
by selling created items.