At least I haven’t completely missed the boat on this one.
Background in a nutshell: A few days ago, Phillip Linden announced a plan to merge the grids… well, rather, delete the teen grid and place those 15 and under into stasis (or something to that effect). See here for a bit more of a detailed overview.
Now, as a former Teen Grid resident and supporter of the Grid Merge back in the day, I’m pretty happy. The Teen Grid is failing horribly, and has been for a long while. As I’ve said before, take the Main Grid, remove 90% of its residents, content, and sims, and you pretty much have the Teen Grid.
Anyway, I digress.
Yes, I have supported the Grid Merge, and I still do. Amongst teens, as with adults, opinions are quite split, and have been for a while – some for the merge, eager to see what Main Grid has to offer and escape the oh-so-terrible Teen Grid, and some who see the possible legal and personal complications to be too much of a risk and would prefer teens and adults to be kept separate.
In all honesty, I don’t see the damage a few hundred teens could do on the Main Grid; there are probably far more teens sneaking on the Main Grid than there are on the Teen Grid legitimately. The Main Grid is a much nicer place, in part because while, yes, there are ignorant people on the Main Grid, one is not forced to stay in such close proximity to them. Mind, the Teen Grid has around 250 concurrent users, much less during the school year and at night.
If this is an argument about adult content, there is adult content on Teen Grid – mature skins, sculpted ‘bits’, sex beds, you name it. The grid is not supervised and honestly, a lot of teens could care less. Most are smart enough to at least hide their stashes in skyboxes or banline parcels, but I’ve seen people running through the welcome area with their penises hanging out (which was quite comical, honestly).
My point with this is, a lot of teens don’t really care about adult content, and those who do are generally smart enough to know to stay to PG- or M-rated islands, if they so wish. If this is for the legal complications, yes, I do understand those, and yes, they are quite a thorny little problem. When the grid merge does go through, I do see LL somehow marking under-18 accounts (publicly or not), and adding an option for sim owners to block them from entering. I see that as a default for Adult-rated sims, either way.
The one point I don’t agree on is the decision with 15-and-under accounts. To my knowledge at this time, they’re simply going to be put into stasis until the account reaches 16 years of age, and then it is reactivated and the user can continue playing.
In all honesty, this is going to cause many under-16 users to simply make 16-and-over accounts or quit Second Life altogether (the former being far more likely). Quite a lame decision on LL’s part, in my eyes. Even if they make specially sanctioned sims for 13- to 15-year-olds, that’s more or less just another Teen Grid, but with a far smaller population. Sadly enough, that’d probably be preferable to simply deactivating the kids’ accounts.
Step into their shoes for a minute. You’re fourteen years old. You’ve been playing SL for a while and have gotten the hang of things, and are starting to build and sell things. You’ve purchased some L$ with your parents’ consent and have a fair lot of items you have bought. Suddenly, LL says your account is going to be deactivated until you turn 16, no questions asked. How would you feel?
Hell, even think of it as you are now – LL just out of nowhere deactivates your account for three years. Yes, you would fight, but in vain. What would you do? Make a new account if you would like to continue playing, or ragequit (or log onto your blog and rant and rave and then ragequit, whichever strikes your fancy).
This just seems like a classic LL move – something that people are pretty torn over, but seems like an alright idea if viewed objectively, but done in such an inefficient, lame way.
NOTE: As it is on the Teen Grid, under-18s are most likely going to be restricted to PG-rated sims anyway until they age verify. Thanks for reminding me of this, Katharine!
As always, I love feedback and mature discussion. Feel free to comment!