In a virtual world, you could be interacting with anyone. That night elf is a night-shift nurse. The girl with the pink hair and iridescent butterfly wings is a mid-level corporate exec. That boy flying by with the floppy brown hair and seriously customized kicks? He may be a high school student who's figured out there are much better ways to earn summer cash than flipping burgers and busing tables.
"Single-player games offer safe, controlled environments, but a virtual world like Second Life adds, ironically, realism. If a young person wants to experiment with running a business, they're not just engaging in thought experiments and case studies; they're actually working with real people and real money," says Joey Seiler, editor of VirtualWorldNews.com, an industry news source that's part of Virtual Worlds Management, a company that provides trade events, media, research and online services.
According to Virtual Worlds Management, more than 100 youth-oriented virtual worlds are either now live or in development, including offerings from MTV and Disney (DIS)
"Often, the amounts