Here's a story I did for BWOnline about Whyville, a Second Life for kids that focuses on education.
With the brouhaha over MySpace, Whyville is positioned as a safer place for kids, 8 to 15. But unless these online worlds are totally closed off and their access strictly monitored, none can be 100% safe--which even Whyville acknowledges.
Here's a little about Whyville in my own words from the story:
"The virtual world, founded in 1999 by CalTech biology professor James Bower, uses a wide variety of games to teach kids how to manage their money, hone their math and science skills, and even learn how to eat better. It's a kid's version of the popular Second Life cyberworld. A growing group of sponsors, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Getty, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Toyota, have created areas within the world where kids can play games to learn about ions or the undersea world, and even customize and arrange financing for a new Toyota Scion. This combination of fun and learning is exerting an undeniable appeal: Over the past year, the service has grown 41% and now has 1.7 million members."
Also, cable problems over the weekend meant I couldn't get online. Somehow a wire got disconnected on the pole across the road from the house. The cable guy says someone must have done it, which of course makes little sense, because who is going to climb the 20 foot pole to do it. But now, I am back in the absolute cool and connectedness of my office....