Parents' Guide to

Second Life

By Conny Coon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Adult themes easily encountered in popular virtual world.

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What you will—and won't—find in this website.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 54 parent reviews

age 18+

Second Life is what you make it, just like real life

There are an amazing amount of angry and confused reviews about this virtual world, which is not a game. If you don't even know what it is, it's probably best not to try to "review" it accurately. It's an open 3D online world. There are a lot of resources about this world within Second Life and elsewhere on the net (SL-oriented blogs (the one by Inara Pey is among the best; Google her) and YouTube channels, for example), including a lot of educational materials, groups, and courses in-world one can use to learn about it. It takes common sense to navigate comfortably, just like real life does. Nobody will serve it to you on a platter. Use your head, be brave, explore, be open to experiences, keep good boundaries, and check out the Firestorm (the best third-party viewer for Second Life) in-world classes. There's even an "Avatar Safety" class that can get you up to speed on the basics. Don't expect a curated experience—you will have to go get or create the experience you want to have, but it's virtually guaranteed that you can have good and memorable ones. But it takes effort and it takes risk, just like real life. Don't give out your real life information to people, choose a good password, use 2-factor authentication if you like, and you'll be fine. It's standard stuff that any adult on the Internet should know how to do at this point. Pro tip: Look at other people's profiles and check out the "Picks" section for suggestions of good places to explore. This is one of the best ways to start organically exploring SL. The provided "Destinations" guide is another. Be careful with your first few months in-world as newbies are sometimes suspected to be alts, which just goes with the territory. This place has been around a long time, and sometimes people create new accounts to avoid people or situations in SL they don't want to be around. There's nothing wrong with alts, it's just that sometimes someone uses an alt to harass people, so don't give up if your young age seems to work against you at first. Keep at it. Fill out your profile. If you sound intelligent and level-headed in your profile, you will put people at ease. And some of us still do enjoy helping real newbies! Look up the FS/SL Gateway Help Network group for a good place to start learning the ropes. Some of the complainers here likely did something against the TOS to get themselves into trouble and aren't fully admitting it in their reviews. It really is not that hard to avoid—use the same decency and manners you'd use in RL and you won't have trouble. It's also possible to entirely avoid sex and violence. Just leave those contexts like you would if you happened upon them in real life. They are not everywhere, and they do not define Second Life. Happy exploring!

This title has:

Educational value
age 18+
Very nice world to hang out but sadly they ban randomly the accounts and for a simple misunderstanding they give you a ban without let you defend yourself and treating you like an I'd**ot sending the same message even if you write them multiple times to ask clairment.they don't play clear with the users.

This title has:

Easy to play/use

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (54):
Kids say (46):

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.

Website Details

  • Genre: Virtual Worlds
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Last updated: November 5, 2015

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