Second life

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Second life
Logo Second Life.svg
Studio United StatesUnited States Linden Lab
Publisher United StatesUnited States Linden Lab
June 23, 2003
platform Windows , macOS , Linux
system advantages
medium Download
language multilingual, u. a. German
Current version

Second Life (German: second life , abbreviated "SL") is a feature available since 2003 Online - 3D - infrastructure for user-designed virtual worlds in which people by avatars interact, play, run commercially and can communicate otherwise. In 2013 the system had around 36 million registered user accounts , and around the clock, mostly 30,000 to 65,000 users were logged into the system at the same time . There is no information on more recent user numbers. However, the number of active users and the media presence have continuously declined sharply in recent years. The number of users is said to have been only 800,000 in mid-2017.

Linden Lab announced the number of 57 million registered accounts for its 15th anniversary in June 2018. It is not known how many of them are actively used. In 2018, Second Life had 350,000 new registrations per month on average from 200 countries worldwide.

Project Sansar was developed as a successor and was originally supposed to appear in early or until mid-2017. In mid-2017, however, it was only accessible to 10,000 selected beta testers. In early 2020, Sansar was sold to Wookey Project due to a lack of profitability and Linden Lab is now focusing on the original version without VR .

Linden Lab claims to be working on an app to enable Second Life to be used on the move.


Second Life was developed from 1999 by Linden Lab in San Francisco . Linden Lab's stated goal is to create a world like the "metaverse" described in the novel Snow Crash : a user-defined, general-use parallel world in which people can interact, play, trade, and otherwise communicate . The first presentation of Second Life took place in the summer of 2002, a beta test phase began in the fall of that year, and Second Life has been online since June 24, 2003.

The Second Life “world” exists in a large server farm operated by Linden Lab and commonly referred to as the Grid . The world is displayed by the client software as a continuous 3D animation that is intended to give a sense of space and into which additional audio and video streams can be integrated.

The client software provides its users, who are referred to as residents , with tools to design their avatar , create objects, navigate through the Second Life world, view the world through an advanced camera control and share with others communicate. Navigation is facilitated by an internal search engine and the ability to set landmarks that can be used to teleport through the world. Linden Lab also offers a web-based map of Second Life so that landmarks can also be displayed outside of Second Life.

In this way, people and / or companies can come into contact with one another and / or offer one another virtual goods or services. Communication takes place via public or private chat , with numerous display options for the chat process. Oral communication via the internal Second Talk is optional .

Second Life also acts as a platform for interactions in social groupings. Like-minded people can form groups and communicate simultaneously with all members of the group via the integrated instant messenger . The program has already been used for training courses and virtual university lectures, and live concerts can also be held virtually. The graphic based on computer games also allows the participants to use and understand Second Life as an online game . Participants can expand the 3D world with new items such as clothing, accessories and homes.

By integrating a virtual currency (L $, Linden dollars ), which can be transferred into a real currency ( US $ ), Second Life is also integrated into the real economic cycle. All self-created and most other objects within Second Life can be traded at your own discretion. Numerous real companies are therefore already present in the grid . As can generally be observed on the Internet, sexual offers are very present. Since July 25, 2007, Linden Lab has officially no longer tolerated games of chance with stakes, which have been very common up to now . However, games of chance continue to take place on a small scale.

In October 2006, Second Life held a million members. Just eight weeks later, the number had doubled to two million; In January 2011, around 21.8 million residents were reached, in 2014 a good 36 million, although many users have registered several - often very many - accounts (so-called alts). The number of active residents is far lower and, despite the steadily increasing number of accounts, has been falling since 2007: 1.7 million accounts April 2007; 1.3 million accounts in January 2011 - each online within 60 days. Due to the worldwide time difference, usually 35,000 to 60,000 people are online in Second Life at the same time, regardless of the local time of day.

Second Life is currently the platform of its kind with the largest number of members in the western world. Second Life's competitors in the western hemisphere include Active Worlds , considered by some to be the founding company of the 3D Internet concept in 1997, Entropia Universe , There and newcomers such as Dotsoul Cyberpark.

The source code of the SL client has been freely available under GPL since January 8, 2007 . A large number of alternative SL clients have been created based on this.

With the introduction of client version 3.0.0 (238864) on August 18, 2011, the system now also supports the meshing technology for modeling objects. However, mesh objects cannot be created using the Second Life technology provided. The meshes must be made using external 3D graphics software such as B. Blender prefabricated and then uploaded to the world of Second Life as a Collada file for a fee. With the introduction of client version 3.7.0 (286015), the mesh was expanded to include additional bones and fitted mesh was introduced in February 2014. The clothing created in Fitted Mesh fits even more closely to the avatar and goes along with the avatar shape when editing.

Landscape panorama in Second Life

Participation and prizes

There are free and paid Second Life user accounts ("accounts"). The main difference is that a player with a free account cannot buy virtual land (on mainland main continent ), which is required for the permanent creation of extensive objects such as houses and landscapes and which is currently the most important commodity of the system. Free account holders can only buy land on private islands ("Estates") or rent mainland.

The platform is operated via client software, which receives the world's data via the Internet. This client can be downloaded and installed free of charge. A client that runs directly in the web browser was tested at the end of 2010, but it did not get over the beta status.

Second Life has several membership plans:

  • Basic - free,
  • Additional Basic - currently also free of charge (previously US $ 9.95 per additional avatar),
  • Premium - There are three options for Premium plans:
    • monthly - US $ 9.95,
    • quarterly - US $ 22.50 (US $ 7.50 per month),
    • annually - US $ 72 (US $ 6 per month.)

All member plans receive a subscription bonus when payment details are provided: L $ 250 for Basic and Additional Basic, L $ 1000 for Premium. Premium accounts can purchase 512 m² mainland without having to pay the usual US $ 5 per month land rent to Linden. They also receive a grant of L $ 300 per week. Providing payment details for Basic and Additional Basic has been voluntary since 2005. Linden dollars can be paid for directly via Second Life, using credit card or PayPal details , or e.g. B. with a simple bank account via providers such. B. VirWox can be exchanged in different currencies. For residents of the EU, the VAT applicable in the owner's country is now added to all payments to Linden Lab, both membership fees and land rent.

The price list for Second Life has changed over time. Earlier versions did not have free initial "Basic Accounts" or required a fee for each additional "Basic Account". During the beta test, residents had the option of subscribing for life with a one-time payment of $ 225. After the publication of SL 1.2 and the introduction of property taxes, this turned into a lifelong tax-free possession of 4,096 m². Until February 2007 there was so-called "First Land" (land parcels subsidized by the operator) for premium memberships. However, as land prices have risen significantly within the Community and there has been brisk trade in the subsidized parcels, the award of "First Land" was discontinued on February 20, 2007.

"Additional Basic Accounts" are currently free of charge. Until the late autumn of 2007, "Additional Basic Accounts" were subject to a charge (one-time fee of US $ 9.95), and Linden Lab occasionally blocked access that was suspected of being a free second account.

An entire region, also known as Simulator SIM for short, currently costs US $ 1000 and a monthly fee of US $ 295. For this price, the owner is assured that a dedicated computer will be provided by Linden Lab for a region. A region covers 65,536 square meters (256 by 256 meters). There are also simulators that run concurrently with others on the same server. The regions they manage have a significantly lower number of prims, the basic building blocks in Second Life, available and are referred to as Low Prim SIMs or Open SIMs and are therefore also cheaper.

Access for young people

Through December 14, 2010, the minimum age to participate in Second Life was 18 years. For teenagers aged 13 and over, however, separate regions (Teen Second Life) were available that were not accessible to adults (except for selected Linden Lab employees and teachers after a security clearance).

Linden Lab announced in August 2010 that it would close Teen Second Life in early 2011 and allow teenagers access to the grid. In November 2010, details on the new minimum age were published. Since December 15, 2010, young people between the ages of 13 and 15 have been allowed to enter special regions of Second Life. These special regions must be made available by an educational institution, the age classification is "General", the young people cannot use the search function and cannot make purchases on the marketplace. Adolescents aged 16 and over are allowed to visit any region in Second Life that is classified as "General".

In practice, however, no age check beyond self-disclosure has been carried out since 2013, so that the entire grid is practically freely accessible for every age group, even if it were forbidden according to TOS, it can no longer be guaranteed that children under 13 years of age can also visit regions with age restrictions. The SIM owner can only carry out a certain age verification via the option of only allowing users with stored payment information. To what extent this can be regarded as effective remains to be seen.

The program as a game

a female avatar as a model in Second Life
A fantasy avatar in Second Life, created using mesh and bento technology in October 2017
a machinima produced in Second Life
now demolished virtual Dresden Zwinger with picture gallery

The focus of the program is on the social interaction between the participants and the creation of content. Since the avatars and the world in which they operate can be designed at will and the operator does not specify any rules, numerous thematically related role-play communities have formed within the virtual world , in which the participants act according to rules created by the participants themselves. Most of the participants appear in humanoid avatars, but there are also large groups of " furries " ((fur) animals with human characteristics), vampires and figures from the world of sagas and dragons. Avatars can be designed with over 200 parameters so different and detailed that no avatar is like another. This should enable a high level of identification with the avatar. Each part of the body can be adjusted using many parameters. B. Eye relief, eyebrows, cheekbones, ears, etc. can be adjusted in great detail. In addition, any customizable items of clothing and objects such as piercings or earrings can be worn, and parts of the body can also be assembled from objects beyond the normal setting options and worn. This option is almost exclusively used for skirts, shoes and hair. Due to the changed body shape, other movements required, e.g. B. when walking on four legs, are realized by objects with scripts and animations that overwrite the standard animations ("animation overrider").

Social appreciation is expressed through group formation, making friends and playing animations such as “clapping hands”, “hugging”, “whistling”, “booing” etc. The number of animations is not limited, you can create your own animations and upload it to the system. A few hundred animations are available. The animation “clap hands” can be played, for example, by entering / clap in the chat window. Since the voice integration, there has been an animation set with gesticulations that are played automatically as soon as the person behind the avatar speaks into the microphone.

In addition, there are also areas in which weapons can be used, which means that, depending on the type of weapons and scripts used, Second Life becomes a first-person shooter or third-person shooter or, for example, you can join a vaulted cellar reminiscent of classic fantasy role-playing games Swords and armor purchased at the entrance can go on a monster hunt.

Especially when used as a game, SL shows a variety of animations, ranging from the running and flight movements of the avatars to simple gestures and more complex movements to detailed sequences that can be combined and edited in many ways. Because of these possibilities, Second Life is a popular platform for machinima .

Various sports are also practiced in SL. For example, sailing regattas are driven with sailing boats in different boat classes, the scripts of the boats taking a wind system into account.

The program as a communication platform


As a global virtual 3D world that unites users from all continents, different cultures and states of the real world, Second Life is used by numerous artists, cultural workers and interpreters.

The spectrum ranges from small concerts by individual singer / songwriters to art exhibitions, literary colloquia, readings and lyrical workshops through to opera, ballet and theater evenings as well as concerts with professional actors, musicians and vocal artists from the real world. Museums and galleries in the world of Second Life show works of art from different cultures and epochs, but also works that were created explicitly for Second Life. Some artists also use special techniques that are only possible in virtual 3D worlds.

Another example was the virtual replica of the Old Masters Picture Gallery of the Dresden State Art Collections. According to the company, it was the first virtual museum of its kind that could be visited around the clock. The project was discontinued in December 2011.


In the area of ​​e-learning, Second Life is used as a technology platform for exercises in border protection, among other things. In addition, virtual worlds have emerged as platforms for conveying language, as cultural contexts can be set up in which language can be conveyed. A Spanish course can take place in the context of Spanish architecture, clothing and music, with the avatars playing flamenco animations and the sound of castanets being played at the same time . Language coaches can vividly convey the respective language in the cultural context thus created. In addition, situations in the linguistic context can be represented by simulations of the real world, as can the audiovisual consequences and consequences through speech actions with real people, regardless of the student's location. In addition to specific online language schools such as the Babel Language School, real language schools such as DESK language courses or Avatar Languages ​​now also offer language lessons in or through Second Life. The adult education center in Goslar has also had a virtual branch in Second Life since 2007 and offered, for example, introductory courses for teachers, the 3D online pass or free cooking courses online.


In the field of research, the Leibniz Institute for Knowledge Media from Tübingen planned to carry out real experiments in 2008. This saves costs for experiment leaders, since the experiments are accompanied by chatbots as wizards. At the same time, it is hoped that the quality of the scientific results will improve, since an unwanted and unconscious influence of the experiment leader on the test person can be excluded. Likewise, there are no travel expenses for test persons who take part in the experiments.


The Archbishop's Pastoral Office Freiburg was able to use the virtual church “St. Georg “was present in Second Life from 2008 to 2010 and offered regular events (prayer groups, Bible studies or discussion rounds) in order to sound out the opportunities and limits of church engagement in three-dimensional virtual worlds, according to his own statement.

Means of payment

The currency of the program is the Linden dollar (L $). Basically, you don't need any credit to participate in Second Life. Linden dollars, however, are required to buy items from other participants, or for activities that are subject to a fee, for example to transfer self-made images ( textures ) to the server . Each participant will receive a certain amount of Linden Dollars the first time they join the program using credit card information. Figures that were created before May 23, 2006 or whose participants pay a monthly usage fee will also receive weekly "pocket money".

To make money in Second Life, you can create objects and then offer them to other users for sale. There are also job offers (especially DJs and offers in the field of virtual sexual services), for which you get a previously negotiated sum from the virtual employer or client. Small amounts of Linden dollars can also be earned by "camping" (paying for staying in certain places).

The operator Linden Lab and other exchanges offer the possibility of converting Linden dollars into real currencies and vice versa. The exchange rate is approximately 270 Linden dollars to 1 US dollar or approximately 345 Linden dollars to 1 euro (as of February 2012).

The possibility of turning the virtual game currency into real money has allegedly led to some participants quitting their “real” job and earning their living in the virtual world as co-developers of the game or as dealers and service providers in the virtual world strive. According to the operator, around 1,300 users earned more than $ 1,000 in September 2008.

Although virtual goods are usually excluded from the online auction house eBay because of the higher risk of fraud (operators of most online role-playing games prohibit eBay trading in their terms and conditions), Second Life is an explicit exception, as eBay does not see the platform as a game. Linden Lab even provides an official online marketplace, especially for virtual products from Second Life.

Business and Politics in Second Life

Replica of a Corvette in Second Life

So far, companies have mainly used Second Life for PR purposes, but they are also recognizing the possibilities of business applications. Establishing a representative office often secures free press articles. SL is also used directly for product tests and product information, as articles can be created and distributed there at low cost and it becomes clear whether the product information or the image would be well received by potential buyers. Companies not only present themselves or their articles in Second Life, but also use the system for virtual conferences and training courses.

For example, Adidas had set up a virtual shop where you could buy shoes from the current collection for your avatar . Even BMW , FriendScout24 , Mercedes-Benz , Mazda , IBM , Reebok , Sony BMG Music Entertainment , the TÜV Saarland and others have set up a branch. Deutsche Post AG was also represented in Second Life until February 2008 . In the virtual corporate headquarters, the Post Tower on Post Island, visitors were able to create their own postcards. These were sent to the real world as real greeting cards by Deutsche Post worldwide.

Sony Ericsson set up a region for CeBIT 2007 and used an extensive cross-world campaign to advertise devices, coupled with a competition. JobScout24 also pursued the cross-world idea and expanded its in-house job search engine to include the new place of residence “Second Life”, under which job offers are offered specifically for Second Life. The job offers are also exported to the virtual branch within the 3D world via a live interface. Architects also use the system to simulate buildings. In contrast to many large companies, there are still various small companies, e.g. B. Art Galleries, active in Second Life.

From late 2006 onwards, the German-language press showed increased interest in Second Life. While Spiegel-Online created an avatar (Sponto) and reported in its online offer in the form of a diary, from the end of 2006 to November 2008 Axel Springer Verlag published a virtual tabloid weekly within Second Life, the AvaStar . This was initially available free of charge, but was then to become a fee (L $ 150, approx. EUR 0.40) and thus finance the editorial team of several people.

In addition to companies, various private and state organizations and institutions are or were also present in SL. So you can find u. a. also an office of Greenpeace , a virtual Swedish embassy and a representative office for the German state of Baden-Württemberg . In preparation for the 15th UN climate summit in Copenhagen, the State Department of the USA organized the event “Virtual Worlds as Green Workplaces” in SL. Second Life has already been used as an election platform by parties and politicians: in addition to the French right-wing extremist Front National , the presidential candidates Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy were also advertised.

In December 2013 it became known that, according to documents from Edward Snowden, the British secret service and the NSA had been monitoring user communication in Second Life since at least 2009.

Realistic city models in Second Life

Replica of Cologne Cathedral in Second Life
A model of a Ju-52 flies past the virtual Berlin television tower

City models were a particularly German phenomenon. These 3D cities were modeled on characteristic parts of their real models in great detail. However, in fact all of these projects have been discontinued since 2014, mostly for cost reasons.

  • München (Muenchen) (project discontinued in Jan. 2015)
  • Cologne (with Cologne Cathedral) (project discontinued)
  • Leipzig (old market and town hall) (project discontinued)
  • Heidelberg (market with Heiliggeistkirche) (project discontinued)
  • Berlin (around Alexanderplatz) (gradual dismantling since 2013, currently still a sim, but no longer a city model)

There are also some regions in other German-speaking countries.

  • Aichfeld (region in Upper Styria, Austria)

User generated objects

Second Life offers the option of uploading textures, audio files, 3D objects and animations created in external programs and using them in the simulation. In addition, there is the option to create, color and deform simple geometric objects such as cubes, pyramids or cones. The " Linden Scripting Language " (LSL for short) allows objects to come into contact with users, other objects and external applications and to process their instructions.

By combining these elements, numerous different objects such as B. clothes, body parts, houses and furniture can be created. Such objects can be bought in the simulated world as well as in the "Second Life Marketplace". As a rule, the buyer either purchases a copy of the object that he can pass on to other users, or any number of copies that cannot be passed on.

OpenSimulator as an alternative

OpenSimulator is server-side open source software that can be used to operate your own grid, e.g. B. on the home computer. The grid itself consists of one or more regions, which can either be operated separately or connected to an existing grid. Since OpenSimulator and Second Life are largely compatible, objects and scripts can be used on both systems. Creators of new content use OpenSimulator, among other things, to produce new products locally and to import them into Second Life after completion. There are now several grids based on OpenSimulator, the best known is OSGrid. An avatar can now teleport including inventory from one OpenSimulator grid to the next (Hyper-Grid-Teleport). A teleport to the second life grid is currently not possible, although it was in development in 2008 in cooperation with IBM .


With increasing awareness, a number of criticisms have been made.

Lack of liability for goods and assets

The main focus of criticism of Second Life is the lack of liability on the part of the system operator for virtual objects and funds. In the event of a bankruptcy of the operator or a conceivable server crash, labor-intensive self-created design elements (objects, textures, gestures, etc.), expensive equipment or all money earned in SL and not yet exchanged for US $ could be irretrievably lost.

Randolph Harrison showed in early 2007 that the economy of Second Life had characteristics of a pyramid scheme. Since Linden Lab performs the function of a central bank for the linden dollar, according to Harrison's financial mathematical analyzes , the operator will have to buy back linden dollars in the future in order to keep the exchange rate against the US dollar stable, since the amount of linden dollars exchanged per user decreases.

Furthermore, the general terms and conditions of the operator grant the user an explicit copyright to his virtual products. However, this can be undermined by a far-reaching right to ownership of the software and the potential exclusion of users. The operator thus has the final right of disposal over all content. The extent to which the rights of the user conflict, for example from “virtual property”, is the subject of legal discussions.

Technology and graphics

Theoretically, up to 100 users can currently be on the same SIM at the same time. By dividing a location into four sectors, which are around the point of contact of four adjacent SIMs, it is still possible to accommodate up to 400 users in one place (e.g. in an arena). In the past, only a maximum of 50 people could be in one place and communicate with each other on a SIM at the same time: "50 people worldwide, that's a Mickey Mouse category in the categories of company bosses who plan advertising campaigns in the classic media for many millions of customers" , argued the Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2007 .

Numerous critics also deny Linden Lab the ability to offer a stable grid or error-free client software. Both the grid and the client have been very unstable since the beginning and, despite constant further development, the participants still have to live with frequent problems today. According to an earlier statement by Linden Labs itself, every fifth session ended in a crash. In addition, minor problems, especially with scripted attachments, often have to be resolved by restarting the client ( relog ). The native group chat system often only processes messages with a long delay.

On the server side, an average of 3% of all Sims are overloaded; almost 1% even to the point of unusability. Reliability problems on the server side are limited to relatively frequent failures of the login system or individual services (currency exchange, wiki, support), whereas crashing Sims are more of an exception. While around half of the downtimes in 2007 were due to maintenance, in 2008 almost all of the downtimes were unplanned.

The update strategy is also not entirely free of criticism. There are indeed a small number of regions which, as “pilot regions”, are supplied with new software versions ahead of time in order to sort out problems; however, the distribution of new software versions to all regions takes place only one day later, so there is no time to find or even correct errors. On the client side, even in a release candidate 8 that is actually running perfectly , new functions that were previously known to be problematic are added.

In the official blog and in the so-called grid status, very extensive information on errors and their rectification as well as planned further developments are published.

ZEIT ONLINE shows the poor energy balance of Second Life in an article dated August 10, 2007: "Assuming the power consumption of the 4,000 Second Life servers and 12,500 avatars" living "around the clock at any time, then you need it virtual person as much electricity as a real average Brazilian. "

Management of Linden Lab

Last but not least, the operator's lack of plan is also on the agenda of numerous critics. Powerful donors for the further development of Second Life were only found in 2003, after the operator allowed trading in virtual goods on the platform. Linden Lab itself reportedly made around 70% of its sales in early 2007 from the sale of virtual land parcels. Linden Lab announced in February 2007 that it intends to withdraw from the sale of land, possibly due to a lawsuit that has been going on before the US Supreme Court since 2006 about the sales practice of virtual land. What the operator wants to finance himself with in the future is still unclear.

In an interview for Focus magazine in June 2008, Linden Lab's new CEO, Mark Kingdon, said, “I advise business people to wait and see. In the near future there will be a time when you can come back to give the 'Second Life' a second chance. "

Endangering users

As with many MMORPGs , experts warn with Second Life that excessive participation in the virtual second life carries the risk of escaping reality . Careless users could also forget through playful consumption that there are real costs behind their virtual transactions in the game world, which in the worst case can lead to debt.

Through the optional specification of payment details, but also through their consumer behavior, which can be understood by third parties, Second Life users also expose themselves to market research studies by companies that either establish themselves in the game or may have contacts with the developer of the game. Linden Lab's sponsors include Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay ) and Jeff Bezos (CEO of ).

By integrating external resources, such as images, music streams, videos, it is possible for users, under certain conditions, to determine the IP address of another player.

Sometimes "malicious scripts" are used to intercept and save chat conversations made by users without their knowledge (and thus against the provisions of the terms of use).

Due to a bug in the QuickTime video framework , which is used to display videos in Second Life, it was temporarily possible to steal linden dollars from other users and thus inflict real financial damage on them.

As of August 1, 2015, the ability to purchase Linden Dollars from third-party providers has been eliminated. Since none of the means of payment offered by the operator himself is anonymous, it has since been possible for the operator to record and save the real identity of every paying user. Paying users can no longer protect themselves against the possibility of their identity being revealed in the event of data theft.


Second Life is also used as a platform for criminal intent. For example, the ARD magazine Report Mainz 2007 reports that it has discovered child pornographic content. A Second Life player from Germany traded with corresponding recordings that had been made outside of Second Life in the real world. The Halle public prosecutor has initiated an investigation.

In addition, virtual children are raped ; The offensive was the possibility of hacking the program to gain control over the avatars of other users (so-called virtual rape , whereby the affected avatars became so-called voodoo dolls that the legitimate user can no longer control ), whereby the appearance of some of them is illegal Sexually appropriated avatars reminiscent of children or created by the legitimate non-sexual users themselves to actually imitate a child's appearance. On the other hand, the Belgian police have taken action and pursued this virtual identity theft of an alleged criminal in real life.

Protection of minors

The lack of protection of minors was also criticized. As an example of this, the case of a then 13-year-old schoolgirl was cited in 2008 who worked as a prostitute in a virtual brothel (i.e. made her avatar available and controlled) and received Linden dollars for it. It was criticized that there was no age verification and that even minors who pretend to be of legal age had easy access to pornographic content.

Linden Lab has announced the introduction of age verification since 2007, the introduction of which began in summer 2009. On a new continent that was launched on June 15, 2009, clearly sexual content is bundled together. The existing age classifications "Parental Guidance" (PG) and "Mature" have been renamed "General" and "Moderate" and a new classification "Adult" has been introduced.

Areas marked as "Adult" could only be entered by users who had previously successfully undergone age verification (from an external service provider). Alternatively, payment details could be saved or US dollars could be deposited into an XstreetSL account. It is questionable whether the procedure also met the requirements of German youth protection law, as this test also partially accepted fictitious people, provided that some of the data came from real ID documents.

At the beginning of July 2011, age verification by means of identification documents was replaced by a procedure in which a user agrees to a declaration that his specified (birth) data is correct. It is then considered age verified. This procedure is extremely easy to circumvent. However, it corresponds to an age control for access to web offers that is currently widely found on the Internet, as is also used, for example, by many free video hosters with pornographic content. In doing so, one relies on personal responsibility and the media competence of the users, also conveyed by state institutions such as kindergartens and schools.

Since July 2012, age verification has been carried out automatically using the (birth) data stored during registration. No other type of age verification is currently planned.

A system of proof of age that complies with German law is therefore no longer in place.


Web links

Commons : Second Life  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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