Top Virtual Worlds for Teenagers

Explore and interact with these digital landscapes

An armored man poses in the MMORPG Runescape

Jagex

 

Virtual worlds allow players to wander, explore, interact, and play in digital landscapes. Some are very open-ended, while others require specific types of interactions. Virtual worlds created for young children are carefully controlled and managed, but worlds for teens are less carefully supervised and may allow a fair amount of social interaction. They tend to capitalize on the social aspects of virtual worlds and allow for more freedom of expression in avatars (your online persona). Here are four virtual worlds for teenagers that are worth checking out.

Teen sites allow more inappropriate language and behavior than MMOs designed for younger children, although the best sites are still somewhat moderated and definitely filtered. Expect more outside advertising and the availability of premium goods and services that cost real-world money. 

Runescape

Screenshot of a character from the MMO Runescape

Jagex

What We Like

  • Free-to-play.

  • Large user base.

  • Quests include immersive storylines.

What We Don't Like

  • Runescape's grind is difficult.

  • It has microtransactions.

Runescape is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), but it doubles as a favorite hangout for a lot of teens. Choose a character, study up on building weapons, fighting, and earning gold, then set out on an adventure. Runescape is free to play, but a premium membership is also available. Premium members don't receive advertising and have access to more features.

Habbo

Habbo avatars hanging out in a common room

 Sulake

What We Like

  • Diverse, global user base.

  • Appealing graphics.

  • You can build your own room and games.

What We Don't Like

  • Microtransactions.

  • Vulnerable to scammers.

  • Has a reputation for attracting "creepers."

Aimed at teens, Habbo has a diverse, global user base. You can build your own room in a virtual hotel. Graphics are chunky and pixelated but have an old-school computing appeal. Habbo offers premium shopping (i.e., real money) for special items. It has some notoriety for a landmark court case involving the arrest of a Dutch teen for the theft of virtual furniture that costs real money.

There

Character customization options in the online game There

Makena Technologies

What We Like

  • Free weekends.

  • Chat requires an age check.

What We Don't Like

  • Microtransactions.

  • AND a monthly sub.

  • Looks dated.

There is open to everyone over the age of 13, and language and behavior is expected to be appropriate for even the youngest members. There has a number of fun games and activities that appeal to a wide range of people. As in Second Life, There members can create clothing and objects for their own use or to sell in-game. The currency is "Therebucks," which can be earned in-game or purchased with real-world money. Unlike other games on this list, it also charges a monthly subscription fee.

Roblox

How to play Roblox on Chromebook

Roblox Corporation

What We Like

  • Hugely popular.

  • Regulates the information children younger than 13 can disclose. 

  • Can teach children the basics of programming.

What We Don't Like

  • Microtransactions.

  • Generally attracts a younger audience.

While people usually associate Roblox with younger kids, the online game is a welcoming place for teens as well. Visually resembling a cross between Legos and Minecraft, it allows users to create and share their own games. While creating an account is free, the platform does have its own virtual currency called "Robux." Users can acquire Robux in-game slowly over time or they can pay real-world money.