Here is a recent question about Second Life and the internet in general, and my reply:
Peggy asked.... I guess I am too old to comprehend. Why are people paying money for something that isn't real. Why not use the time and money in dealing with life in person. So much time seems to be spent in making a perfect life on the internet instead of learning from our mistakes in the day to day of real life, facing the actual people. I love the internet but its so easy to let it take up way too much time.
Oh, it's not an age thing - lots of "old" folks get into it. The internet, and all it's many offerings, is a tool to be used for whateve purpose you have in mind. Sure, from time to time all people use the internet as an escape - but don't we all need to escape from time to time? We already do that with TV and Movies - the internet is just a more interactive, involving, form of that. But, just as TV and Movies can also be a tool for education, and for enhancing our everyday lives, so too can the internet be that tool. And even more so.
And that's my purpose for the Education Center on Homelessness in Second Life. It will be a place where people can go and learn about it. And that education will follow those people back into the real world, and effect real lives.
Personally, the internet has been instrumental in helping me overcome my social anxieties, and to learn of my other issues so that I could over come them.
In Second Life there are many real life educational institutions, universities, etc, set up with online classes that can only be accessed through Second Life. Some things are just better taught in the Second Life environment.
And so it's all what you make of it. Like anything else, you get out of it, what you put into it.