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Whyville.net

This free site is aimed at preteens and teens, and parents are warned that it is not monitored 24/7. New members are limited to "safe chat" using a predefined vocabulary. Eventually  you get your "chat license" and can speak more freely. While a profanity filter is in use, you can also set your preferences to "things I don't want to hear" and "things I don't want to say." For example, parents could set a child's phone number in the latter box. However, there are ways to get around things like this--it's not 100% protection and you shouldn't think of it that way. The good news is that there are plenty of self-policing community tools where members can be reported to the Whyville authorities. The site features a rich landscape of areas to visit (some are out of this world) and a number of educational games.
whyville.net/

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