Rumours of Teen Second Life being merged with the ‘main grid’ of Second Life have been circulating almost weekly since 2007.

If you’ve been around long enough, you’re probably so inured to the rumours that the announced closure of Teen Second Life at Rosedale’s SLCC keynote comes as something of a surprise.

Teens aged 16 or 17 will be migrated to the main-grid with the rest of the adults, and presumably restricted to G-rated spaces until they are 18 (G, according to Linden Lab is suitable “for grade-schoolers or grandma”). New signups to Second Life will have a minimum age of 16 rather than the current 18.

Teens under 16 years of age will lose access entirely. It isn’t clear whether their accounts will be suspended until they turn 16 (which would require a lot of accounting), or just closed.

Teen Second Life has been problematic for a long time. Shuttered away in an inaccessible location on the main grid, Teen Second Life has always been a bit of a second-class ghetto, seemingly ignored or forgotten by Linden Lab for long stretches of time since Blue Linden/Cyan Linden’s tenure as Teen Grid Manager. According to some adults with special access to Teen Second Life, a number of quite rambunctious hate-groups have flourished among some segments of the teen population as a result.

On turning 18, teens had to say goodbye to all of their friends and their accounts were migrated to the adult portion of Second Life. Retention for migrated teens, cut off from their friends and usual hangouts wasn’t noticeably all that much better than the retention of new users generally.

A side-effect of all of this is that one might reasonably expect Linden Lab to become super-zealous about enforcing the grade-schoolers-and-grandma requirements for G-rated areas – there are doubtless plenty of people who would like Second Life to fail who would love to point the finger at a 16 or 17 year old coming into contact with prurient content on Second Life’s main grid.

That’s a whole PR mess waiting to happen, and with even the most zealous enforcement, inevitably it will.

I’m not expecting the influx of teens into main grid accounting to have a hugely significant effect on certain key metrics like concurrency, as the teen population so far has been miniscule, and only two-fifths of the age-bands are migrating across.

I still don’t have access to transcripts of the session (sometimes SLCC is like another planet), but I don’t believe any specific date for the closure has been announced as yet.



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