YALSA Podcast #50-Access to Second Life

Kelly Czarnecki talks with teen, Storm Basiat, in regards to Congressman’s Mark Kirk’s proposal to the Federal Trade Commission to warn parents of the “dangers Second Life presents.” Also discussed is how Kirk feels that access to Second Life should be banned in schools and libraries.
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Storm points out some great things to listeners such as:

  • there is a Teen Second Life
  • mature content is not unique to Second Life and thus age verification would be needed for what-every site? Visit this Washington Post article for more on this.
  • Second Life allows adult content on the main grid (18 and over) because unlike other virtual worlds where teens and adults can interact, in SL, teens and adults are not able to interact together legally without a background check and only on the teen grid
  • Linden Lab, the creators of SL have an age verification system in beta testing where if someone happens to log in (and lie about their age) and want to view mature content then they need to provide ID to do so. Though there are still ways around this (see this article).
  • Like most virtual worlds, there is a system in place to report people to the company with the result being that they can be fined and/or banned if they are violating company policy
  • There are options for teachers on the teen grid to have private spaces where only their students can access the space they are using
  • Because SL is open source, it is possible to develop where the client restricts kids in schools or libraries getting access to only be able to log in with a certain username and password determined by the teacher or librarian
  • Updated information and good marketing on Linden Lab’s part to keep people informed of their options for access is helpful

While Second Life is one virtual world among many, there are options in making it safer and educating teens and parents of how to do so, what to look for, and where to look. Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal about the great work teens are doing in virtual worlds such as Second Life and Entropia Universe.

You can also subscribe to YALSA’s podcasts and visit YALSA’s podcast page.

Published by

Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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