Second Life, the online virtual world, is to change this summer to make it more appealing for education, conferences, and business users.

Although the exact changes are yet to be finalised, Second Life creator Linden Labs is to segregate adult-orientated content from the rest of the material available on the website.

The plan is to put any adult content on to a separate continent. Any region that hosts adult-orientated material on the website – anything that is classified as sexually explicit, intensely violent or drug-related – will eventually be migrated, only accessed by residents whose accounts verify they are over 19 years old.

Two other levels of classification are to be created also – Mature and PG. Mature is for things such as 'burlesque acts'.

Maintain the diversity

Mark Kingdon, Chief Executive of Linden Labs, said about the changes: "As we continue to grow, it is crucial that we maintain the diversity of user-generated content while providing enhanced controls to support a wider range of uses.

"Preferences and community standards vary tremendously across industries, countries and cultures; our goal is to retain as much of the freedom as possible while continuing to push the medium and our platform forward."

Around 15 million people use Second Life – around 700,000 are online at any one time – with many schools and businesses using it as a forum for delivering lessons and presentations.

The option of cybersex has always been a lure for some users, however, and it will be interesting to see if the makers of Second Life do manage to regulate the seedier aspects of the online world.

Via Associated Press