Second Life

Common Sense Media says

Adult themes easily encounted in popular virtual world.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 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, 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.

Positive messages

Violence & scariness




Drinking, drugs & smoking

Privacy & Safety

What Kids Can Learn

Whats it about?

Is it any good?

The open-ended environment of this virtual community is part of SECOND LIFE'S appeal and charm, and there's ample opportunity for kids to flex their creative muscles (though the tools to do so are somewhat clunky). Visitors will find socializing, entertainment, games, and abundant opportunities for learning (sit in on a classroom discussion, run a business, learn to play an instrument). Plus, they can buy, sell, and develop land; build structures, and shop. Avatars can even fly! Certainly, there's nearly as much to do in this world as there is in the real world. But that's what also makes it a dangerous environment for kids. Without the safeguards that were in place at Teen Second Life, teens are more likely to wander into -- intentionally or unintentionally -- adult-themed areas or overhear inappropriate conversations or chat with someone who isn't who they claim to be. Yes, it's an engaging, creative place full of endless possibilities. But left unchecked or unmonitored, that may also present the biggest concern.

Explore, discuss, enjoy

Families can talk about what virtual communities are. What appeals to kids about using an avatar rather than a true identity? Families can also discuss consumerism in virtual worlds. What are users really getting by buying pretend stuff in this pseudo-world?

Families can also talk about the importance of protecting your privacy and staying safe in a virtual world. What steps can you take to stay private and safe?

How are virtual worlds places for marketers to sell virtually
anything? How are products and brands tied into such sites, and what makes them such great arenas for selling stuff? How can you be a savvy consumer and not buy into the virtual hype?

This rating and review provided by Common Sense Media.
For more information, please visit

Featured Articles

Google adds tool to flag 'offensive' search results
Google has added a new category called "upsetting-offensive" for flagging search results. While flagging something doesn't directly affect the search results themselves, it does influence how content ranks in the results. As a result, content marked as "upsetting-offensive" and other questionable attributes may be pushed down in the list of results, giving prominence to more trustworthy sources.
Losing smartphone is almost as stressful as terror threat
The Physiological Society, an organization of more than 3,500 scientists from over 60 countries, reports that the loss of a smartphone is perceived to be almost as stressful as a terrorist threat. Their recent study of 2,000 British citizens shows that such modern problems, including identity theft and commuter delays, are significant stressors. By providing this information, the Physiological Society hopes to raise awareness of the effects of stress on how the body functions.

Featured Media

How do I report something on Facebook?
How do you report something you've seen on Facebook such as spam, hate speech, harassment, bullying, etc.