"I'm not a kid."
I heard that twice already in my short lifetime in SL. The first time, from a 19-year-old, who wanted to take me to the sex temple, and who resented the fact that I called him "jailbait." The second time, from a 15-year-old, who sneaked into the adult grid because he wanted to make money and be able to curse, and who begged me not to ban him.
However, to a woman in her early forties, they ARE kids. I figured I would meet mostly 20-somethings in SL, and I was relieved when the first person I met was only two years my junior, so I guess there's a wide range of ages in SL. I don't always ask people how old they are, but I can pretty much intuit someone's maturity level by the way they behave, by their interests, by the way they talk.
I've met other young people -- a builder who just needs company and approval, a sensitive soul who had to deal with harsh words from his peers, and others who just want to hang out.
However, sometimes, these kids surprise me. The 19-year-old had already thoughtfully formed his own theories about existence, for instance.
They seem to know the basics of staying safe online. And when I warned the 15-year-old to stay away from the adult areas, he said, "I hate that stuff, it's not meant to be on a game." Hopefully, that innocence would protect him.
Both said I needn't worry about them, but my maternal instincts still nag at me....