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!