Online Virtual Worlds for Kids
Online virtual worlds for kids can be a safe, fun environment. Kids can learn and go on amazing adventures all from the comfort of their own home with virtual reality. But, as with all internet content, it is important for parents to monitor their children while they are interacting with others in virtual worlds.
Virtual Worlds for Young Users
Important note: Teen Second Life (SL) was closed on 01/21/2011 and its contents were transferred to the Second Life main grid. The information regarding Teen Second Life given below is mainly for historical purposes.
Virtual worlds have become a social meeting place for adults and kids. An online virtual world allows users to interact in real time with others, create, work, and learn. One such world, Second Life, even allows members to own land, open a shop, go to bars, and design clothes.
To become a member of a virtual world you must first fill out a registration form. Some virtual worlds have an age limit and others require parental permission for minors wishing to become members. Second Life recognized the safety concerns parents had over teens and virtual worlds early on. They created a special “Teen Second Life” for users ages 13 to 17. For younger kids sites like: Webkinz World, Club Penguin, Toon Town, and Whyville are mainly recommended.
Teens and the internet can be a dangerous combination if parents do not monitor their child’s computer usage. Online virtual worlds for kids are no exception. Many worlds have no restrictions on who can become a member and your child may interact with users using very inappropriate language and be exposed to adult content and child predators.
Teen Second Life has taken these concerns and more into consideration. The teen version of the popular virtual world allows adults to enter only if they have passed a background check. Admittance is further restricted to adult teachers and adults working with non-profits.
As a parent you can feel safe when your child is interacting with others on Teen Second Life. You can be assured that the people he comes into contact with are of his own age group and the adults have been found to be interested only in helping your child.
What Can Parents Do?
Even with the safety features & tips of Teen Second Life, this and all other online virtual worlds for kids must be frequently scanned for inappropriate content. Parents should discuss what is acceptable and what is not when online. If any inappropriate conduct is reported to Linden Lab, the creator of Teen Second Life, the user responsible will be banned from the site and may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The best thing a parent can do to keep their child safe is to be proactive. “Don’t think your child will come to you with a problem. Investigate the sites your child uses. Join the virtual world yourself and see what is really going on,” says Marri Rond, an expert on computer safety for teens.
Teen Second Life is one of the best virtual worlds online for kids. It is safe, secure, and loads of fun. Your teen can attend classes, use their imagination to create, and have fun hanging out with their friends without leaving the house. Let your kids enjoy a safe surfing experience.
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