Virtual Worlds for Teens
Virtual worlds for teens are an extremely popular way to socialize. Gone are the cutesy cartoon penguin avatars and monitored conversations. Teens will find more freedom in the virtual world than they had as a child.
Virtual worlds for teens still offer some filtering of content. Some sites only allow teens to register which helps create a safe environment. Parents are still encouraged to monitor slightly their teen’s computer usage even though they are no longer children.
Great Sites for Teens
The most popular virtual world for teens was Teen Second Life. Teen Second Life was created in response to negative criticisms Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life, received concerning teens lying about their age to use Second Life.
Recognizing the need for a safe site for teens Linden Lab developed Teen Second Life. This virtual world allowed teens to create an avatar to represent them. This avatar was used to communicate with other teens on the site. Teen Second Life could be played at two different levels; the site offered a free basic plan and a paid membership.
Teen Second Life (SL) was closed on 01/21/2011 and its contents were transferred to the Second Life main grid.
Runescape is another well-known virtual world for teens. Runescape is a massive multiplayer game that is used by many teens as a place to socialize. Teens choose an avatar and set off on adventures. This site has a free option and a paid membership.
Habbo Hotel is a virtual world for teens that claims to have users from all over the world. Teens will have the opportunity to design their own room in the Habbo Hotel and interact with other residents. Teens can use real money to buy virtual items and decorate their virtual room.
There is a virtual world for teens that is also open to older users. The content is filtered to some degree and the site is considered safe by many web services. There has games and adventures geared toward teens. Like Second Life, teens will create an avatar. They will have the chance to earn “therebucks” to further personalize their virtual experience. There has a basic free plan or a onetime fee for the paid membership option.
Beware of Consumerism
One thing parents and teens will notice in teen virtual worlds is the presence of advertising on virtual world sites. Unlike virtual worlds for kids, virtual worlds for teens place ads on pages and encourage teens to shop. Some sites, like There, allow teens to use real money in the virtual environment. The placement of ads on teen sites may confuse some teens and parents should tell their child to avoid impulse shopping through these ads.
As mentioned before, the main reason teens go online and into a virtual world are to socialize with other teens. Developers are constantly vying to create popular and safe virtual worlds for this demographic. Teens want more freedom than they had as a child on Toon Town and parents still want their child to be safe. Popular virtual worlds for teens have found a happy medium and satisfy both teens and their parents.
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