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Bringing Teens to Second Life’s Main Grid

Terrence Linden


When we announced that we would be closing Teen Second Life and bringing our under-18 Residents to the Main Grid, we also made clear our intention not to compromise the experience that teens have access to. Today, I’m happy share our plan to create rich and enjoyable Second Life experiences for teens, while keeping in mind their security and safety when joining the Main Grid.

A Rich and Secure Experience for Teens

Our goal is to provide a safe, secure, and rewarding experience to all Second Life Residents, no matter their age. Accordingly, we are putting safeguards in place on the Main Grid specific to the following teen age groups:

For 13- to 15-year-olds:
  • 13- to 15-year-old Residents will be restricted to the estates of a sponsoring institution.
  • These Residents will not have access to inworld search, nor will they be able to purchase from our Web-based Marketplace.
For 16- and 17-year-olds:
  • 16- and 17-year-old Residents will have access to all SL regions rated General (i.e., containing content appropriate for all ages), on the Mainland and private islands.
  • These Residents will not be able to enter Moderate- nor Adult-rated regions, even if they have payment information on file and/or have used our Web-based identity verification system.
  • These Residents will be able to communicate fully with and befriend all other users on the Main Grid. This includes local chat and IM.

With nearly 5,000 General-rated regions in Second Life, the area that will be accessible to our 16- and 17-year-old Residents will dwarf the 100 regions currently available on Teen Second Life, giving them far more space to create, explore, and experience their online environment and what they can do there.

Our 16- and 17-year-old account holders will also be able to communicate fully with all other users on the Main Grid (unless they have been muted or otherwise restricted). This was an important decision for us, and one we think will make Second Life richer for all Residents.

Welcoming Teens in the New Year

Bringing teens to the Main Grid is now less than two months away. We plan to shut down the Teen Grid and transfer accounts to the Main Grid in early January, once the holidays have passed. Here’s what to expect:

  • When the teen grid closes, 13- to 15-year-olds will no longer be able to register for Second Life unless they are brought in through an affiliated organization. On the Main Grid, these younger Residents will not be able to travel outside the estates of their sponsoring organizations.
  • 16- and 17-year-olds registering for Second Life will be directed to the Main Grid rather than to Teen Second Life.
  • We will transfer all 16-17s remaining on Teen SL to the main SL grid, as well as those 13-15s that are affiliated with TSL Resident institutions. This includes all the inventory of those accounts. (The accounts of our other 13- to 15-year-old Residents will become inactive, but will be automatically restored when they turn 16.) All of the land on Teen Second Life will be transferred to the Main Grid. This includes teen mainland, teen private islands, and teen organizations’ estates.

At that point, Teen Second Life will be officially closed -- but the experience of teens in Second Life is only just beginning. We strongly believe that teens have as much to contribute to the Second Life community as their adult counterparts, and we do not want to restrict the flow of ideas and information between the two groups. We all have much to learn from each other.

As we continue to focus on making the Second Life experience faster, easier, and more fun for all Residents, we’ve also made a number of improvements to search to provide teens with additional security and control. We look forward to seeing the new kinds of creativity and community our teen Residents will bring to the Main Grid. Welcome, teens!


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As a RL oldie with Grand kids I say welcome and hope that you enjoy the oppertunities that the MG will offer you as well as an outlet for the creative stuff that I am sure a lot of you make. Lets hope that you all find enjoyment here

ETA: I also agree with Arwyn, about time you did some outreach as well to the teens as I am sure many of them are as worried about coming here as some adults are about them coming to the MG. LL you must do better to pave the way and the transition for all parties.

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Will there be any safeguards in place to let the adult residents know that they are befriending a teen?  I think there should be some way of tagging a teen's profile to identify them.

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I am glad you, LL are making this possible on one hand on the other hand, not so sure.
I have Kids that really want to join the "real" world as they call it hehe,
and even if I have nothing to hide, Im not sure I want them there.
This is my PLAYGROUND..
Would actually love to see what the age span it is on us "adults" .. because as long as I have been in SL
the group 20-30 years old is not that "many".. and the gap between the teens and me is BIG. (can be wrong ofcourse, but seeing other statistics it shows that, that age group have alot of other things in their lifes besides sitting by the comp.)
I do love the mix of older and younger.. But the language and acting of us adults, wherever we are PG or not
is still not always OK... Soo Do I need to start step on my toes now when I am thinking of buying an Island and not rate it Adult but General?

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I agree with Belle.  Will there be a way to tell the RL age of residents you interact with?  Or have you decided to ignore the concerns of many adult users on this subject?

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Will the teens get to keep their land as they transfer? I remember Linden Lab reclaimed some quite pricey land (for a minimal payment?) while remaking the Pinkwater sim back when I was still on TG, and something tells me you are going to do something just as evil now. And will the prim bonuses of regions such as Oasis stay the same?

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I want to welcome all the incoming teens!  I truly hope that your experience on the main grid is a good one!  I am sure that you all have a lot to offer to the SL Community!  Welcome!

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This brings up a few very valid questions.

*What are you going to do about the "adult" profiles some residents have on Second Life (Nudity, adult language & situations, advertising for adult business, etc.) Are you planning on safeguarding them from reading adult profiles? Are you going to censor & force residents to change their profiles? (Which is a bad move for those who own adult businesses or work in the adult industry  & use their profiles to pass on information, etc.)

*What are you going to do to protect us, the adults, of Second Life? I agree with the other comments on knowing the age of someone. What are you going to do to protect us? Make their profiles like many licenses in the United States. Completely different looking to be able to tell when one is on a teen account & one is on an adult account?

*Have you been to many of the G rated areas of Second Life recently? There isn't a day that goes by where I don't see a resident in lack of clothing or being led around by a master wearing slave silks & a leash. (I am NOT starting a discussion on lifestyles, etc. on SL. I'm just stating what many of us see on a daily bases in a G area to point out that just because a place is G does not mean that all residents act like it is.)

I came to SL almost four years ago for the opportunity to express myself, be creative, & be with adults. Keyword: Adults. I feel extremely uncomfortable to be pushed into a place where I will have to interact with teens in G rated areas (To stop an argument before it starts I like to go to sl parks. I like many shops that are in G areas. I write on various SL things & go everywhere for it. Not going to a G area is not an option nor should it ever be). As a parent I wouldn't want my kid befriending adults in an open virtual world. To me it seems like a very unwise & unsafe move.

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I agree that there needs to be some kind of "Identifier" in plain view on the "younger" profiles until the user(s) turn 18. For the safety of the younger users and the older users.

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Two concerns:

1. PG / General land borders Mature land. How do you plan to protect younger residents from those who put lewd content on those borders?  As I've written before, I lived on such a border where there were several properties with blatant TMI content right on the line, much less anything within draw distance.

2. Who's to stop residents from taking snapshots from Mature/Adult areas of any content and sending them to minors?

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Yep... this is still a bad idea. I've seen most of the blogs and posts on this topic over the last few months. By rough count, over 80% of the adult residents think this is going to lead to trouble. Will there be an "I told you so" posting area on this site when the lawsuits start rolling in? I have to echo (again) most of the comments here. Kids are incredibly savvy about ways in which to overcome internet safeguards to begin with. Even if they do play by the rules and stay in general areas, have you seen what kind of avatars walk around in even those spots? Dressed in next to nothing and wearing tags that say nice teen friendly things like "hungry slut" (and I'm censoring here)! Furthermore, will a 15-year old be able to go into stores that sell "sexy" skins and clothing, found all over general areas, so they can make themselves up to be easily misrepresented as an adult? Am I going to know that I'm talking to an underage person if he/she presents themselves as otherwise? That is NOT something I want to worry about, nor am I comfortable with as a viable scenario. It seems like the official post above is actually touting that they're going to let underage members be able to talk to ANYONE in SL? The wording even makes it sound like this is somehow going to be beneficial. One click on an adult member's profile and a teen will get to see all the naughty goodies and groups posted there. Congrats Lindens, you just created an internet predator's wet dream and another online source for teens to find adult-oriented trouble. I hope, for your sakes and the sake of Second Life continuing, that I'm wrong.

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This brings up a few very valid questions.

*What are you going to do about the "adult" profiles some residents have on Second Life (Nudity, adult language & situations, advertising for adult business, etc.) Are you planning on safeguarding them from reading adult profiles? Are you going to censor & force residents to change their profiles? (Which is a bad move for those who own adult businesses or work in the adult industry  & use their profiles to pass on information, etc.)

I was under the impresion that all profiles where suposed to be PG/G for years, especialy because those profiles can already be seen on the web by anyone: http://world.secondlife.com/resident/80d55c5a-4400-4038-a6d2-f12f205d6754

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I was always under the same impression about profiles also. But I've never actually known anyone to majoly follow a PG profile rule. Especially friends who are in the adult industry. Many advertise their adult businesses in the their picks and/or in classfieds. (We've all seen some pretty "adult" oriented pictures in classifieds). Since you can access someones classified ad from their profile then I'm guessing that PG profiles are more of an idea then actually ever followed or enforced (I know there are people who have probably been reported for their profiles but I've never known anyone to get into any trouble or actually be reported do to profile content and/or pictures).  How would one go about advertising their adult business in their profiles if they were forced to stick to a PG profile rule? (Curiosity Question #1 LOL)

Curiosity Question #2 Has anyone ever seen a rule about what pictures are OK & not OK in a classified ad, even marked "adult"? Since they are linked to the person who put the ad out in the their profile I am actually curious as to what the rules are. (Never had a reason to look this up before)  Especially with a grid merger looming over our heads.

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You are opening up a tremendous black hole of legal jeopardy here, for you and for all your customers.  Any store that's in Mature and bordering General can be Cammed into and purchases made.  Any home in mature and bordering General can be Cammed into and the residents spied upon.  And when the teens' parents catch their kids watching virtual porn, without the kids having to defeat any sort of protection at all to see it, you can be assured that they will be calling the authorities.   The authorities then will be coming after you (for failing to safeguard the underaged from inappropriate material) and after us (for providind the innappropriate material, even if we don't know the kids are perv-camming us.)

The only way you are going to make the mainland Kid-safe without turning it completely General is by modding the server code so that Mature and Adult sims do not pass back any data at all to Teen accounts.  It's a very simple change to make and prevents teens from perv-camming anyone or even making improper purchases at stores bordering G sims -- you cannot press BUY on a prim if your viewer doesn't get the prim's data in the first place.  Likewise, you can't perv cam someone if you cannot see them to begin with.

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So basically...what they are saying is...is that all the pedophiles are being forced to relocate to the main grid...good to know.

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If a kid really wants to go into an adult area now...they can. They can lie about their age and use false verification information. They can get an adult to create an account for them. Do you really think this doesn't already happen? It does.  So let's be real, if you're trolling for opportunistic sex, and you're THAT afraid of running into a minor, then maybe you should already be age & voice verifying anyway.

I don't see how things will change all that much because if you're in a General Sim you're currently expected to abide by those standards and not use language, dress and behavior that isn't befitting to that rating. If you don't like it, then there are plenty of Mature and Adult Sims to hang out at. Most of the night clubs are still going to be located either in Mature or Adult Sims anyway, so I'm not expecting things to really change. People are afraid their "adult" playground will change, and maybe it will a little but I don't see the change affecting the Moderate and Adult areas so much.

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Yes.. but are they all PG? Because any Mature sim would cause sections of the continent to disconnect (atleast, from the teen's point of view).

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The mainland is mostly mature with a smattering of G sims inside of it.  You are correct that you won't be able to walk on the Mature parcels and you will have to teleport everywhere.  But with the LL solution as it already is, you cannot set foot on Mature parcels in the first place, much less cross them.  So my solution doesn't change that.  All it changes is add "you cannot even see them" to LL's "you cannot enter them" approach.  This is to finally give adults in Mature sims some protection and peace of mind.  Plus, logically, if the sims aren't considered safe for teens to enter, then they shouldn't be considered safe to even see either.

And remember, you will only have the limitations of a teen account for two years.  After that and for the rest of your life, YOU will be worried about lawsuits and cops accusing you of improper relationships with a child for as long as you are in SL.  Having neighboring sims appear as offline for two years to buy you 70 years of safe enjoyment in SL is a very small price to pay.  And it prevents the adults who were promised an adults-only world to play in from having to worry too much about what children may or may not see while they just go about their (legal) business after LL unilaterally changes the contracts yet again.  It's a tech solution to a complex sociological problem.  And while yes, a teen can lie and still get into mature, any lawsuit is preempted by the simple question "Did you commit identity fraud to access materials you shouldn't have accessed?"  If the teen has to admit to commiting fraud, LL and the rest of us are safe.  If the teen doesn't have to break any laws or rules and still sees inappropriate content, then the law absolutely and without question will come after LL and the rest of us.

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So, basically, the region would be gone (as if it was offline) to any teen. That is probably the only true way to prevent accidental mature content shown to teens. Except for the pervs which have that stuff in PG sims, but then it wouldn't be an accident, as that is a clear violation of the rules.

However, I (being a teen myself) do not know exactly how the main grid mainland is made up, but wouldn't this cause many sims to become not only impassable, but also render the mainland as nothing but a mesh of sparcely connected, and thus invisible, regions? If the sim bordering a PG region is Mature, the sim one region further will also not show up, because it is disconnected. How are we ever supposed to take the train, or drive your car in that? The only real method of transportation would be to teleport all over the place. Even if it just to get to a region just one sim away.


On the topic of teens using fake information to get into mature/adult parts of second life: it already happens, and probably on a pretty big scale too. The only difference is, that in that case, it is the teen who is at fault. Any claim by the teen wouldn't hold up, as he/she clearly circumvented and bypassed restrictions to get to that stuff in the first place.

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For once, I'd really like to see Linden Labs implement an entire idea I mean just one whole idea! It would be a nice change for the half baked plans they always seem to implement.  The cam problem has not been addressed and you're just going to let 16 year old kids talk to whomever they please  and whomever talk to a 16 year old kid? Really? I mean really  you're going to do this?

I think putting special markers  on the profiles would make it easier for creeps to find the kids. Whomever had the idea and implementing it so badly should be fired immediately. I don't care how high up in the company they are. This has  been implemented in an irresponsible way! I'm still in favor of shuffling the kiddies off to  other  worlds that don't have adult content. Leave SL alone! It was fine in its original form the more  Linden Lab tries to polish it the worse things get!

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As it stands right now, a 16 or 17 year old who is allowed on the grid according to this plan will be very frustrated when trying to drive, fly or use a boat. The G-rated sims are not in contiguous lumps or continents. They are scattered randomly across the Mainland, like raisins in raisin bread. Any attempt to fly, drive or use a boat will end rapidly in smashing into a sim barrier that they are not legally allowed to cross. Seeing gaping empty holes would be a blessing. At least you'll know where you can safely and legally go.

There is no way to visually know the rating of sims ahead of you. The only way to know the rating of a sim is to attempt to go there, or to look it up in a rating-limited search, or to open the Map and mouse over each sim, to read what it's rating is.

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Will there be any safeguards in place to let the adult residents know that they are befriending a teen?  I think there should be some way of tagging a teen's profile to identify them.


While it may seem like this would be a good idea, don't you think that flagging a minor's account would make them an easy target for pedophiles?

Honestly, the fact that you're friending a teen is irrelevant, unless you're prejudiced against them, or are silly enough to participate in 'adult behavior' in a general region.  If you just treat your friends like friends, does it really matter if they're 17 instead of 18?  I don't care personally, if a person is relatively mature and they're 16 years old, that's fine, they can be my friend.  If they're 40 and totally immature, they won't stay on my list long.  What is your concern about a friend being under 18?

I do have the same concerns about general parcels that are next to mature ones though, that would seem to be a risk.

The only other thing I can see is with groups, concerning language and some off-color conversations I see quite a lot.  Now, even way back in the stone age when I was 16, we had those same conversations with our friends, so it's not like they're being treated to something unusual.  However I can see some overly protective parents being upset by some of that colorful language.  Are there settings in groups that let you only allow adults or age-verified people to join?

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This plan is still massively unsafe for teens and adults both.

What safeguards will prevent the 16 and 17 year old minors from engaging in Adult conversations in Text Chat, Voice Chat or IM's, with Adults who have no idea that they are talking to a minor? How will any adult know that the person they are talking to is under-age, and that adult topics are illegal?

What safeguards will prevent the 16 and 17 year old minors from camming into neighboring Mature-rated sims, and interacting with Adult-rated content that is LEGAL in people's homes in Mature sims?

What safeguards will prevent the 16 and 17 year old minors from joining groups that are in no way age-appropriate for minors? How can the owner of any group prevent minors from joining it? I just had to kick out the officers of all my groups, so only I can add any new members. And I won't add anyone unless I have first met them, face to face, in an adult-rated sim or in a Mature sim that is not in any way within camming range of a G-rated sim. I can't accept the legal liability that a minor might be added to my groups and become involved in inappropriate group chats or IM's,

What safeguards will prevent the 16 and 17 year old minors from purchasing content on SL Marketplace that isn't strictly G-rated?

What safeguards will prevent the 16 and 17 year old minors from camming across sim borders into Mature areas and purchasing Adult skins and Adult clothes and making themselves look like adults?

What safeguards will prevent the 16 and 17 year old minors from obtaining inventory items that are not age-appropriate, from groups or individuals that have no way whatsoever to identify them as minors?

There are SO many unanswered questions that have been raised by your paying customers, and that are being IGNORED by Linden Lab...

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