Growing Virtual World Offers Young Internet Users Free, Safe Environment for Fun and Learning

More Than 14 Million Kids Learn and Explore on Poptropica, Virtual World
    From the Developers of FunbrainBOSTON, May 14 /CNW/ -- Where do parents turn when their young children
want to have fun and connect with others online? Parents of more than 14
million have found the answer on Poptropica, a free, safe online environment
packed with games and discovery. The number of kids exploring the virtual
world of Poptropica -- from the developers of Funbrain, the long trusted
learning Web site for children -- has exploded since its launch just last
September. With today's debut of the new "Time Tangled Island," Poptropica
offers even more opportunities for young children to learn, play, explore and
safely connect with other children on the Web.
    "Today, young children want a place online where they can play games,
learn and socialize just like their parents and older siblings," said Jess M.
Brallier, publisher, Family Education Network, developer of Poptropica. "We
created Poptropica so young children would have a free, safe online
environment where they could explore, build computer skills and have a good
time."
    Upon arrival at Poptropica, kids create an avatar, choosing from numerous
hairstyles and colors, eyes, lips and clothing to create their own unique
character. They use their avatar to explore Poptropica, a safe environment
where visitors are never asked to provide or share any personal information.
    Kids can play individual games that help them build computer skills,
identify shapes and patterns or build mouse skills. When they see another
character, they can click on it and choose to "Chat" or "Battle." If they
select "Chat," they are presented with a list of questions, such as "Do you
play a musical instrument?" and "Are you good at math?" The other visitors
then respond from a similar list of chat options. This scripted chat allows
young Internet users to interact with others online safely and easily, never
sharing any personal or identifying information. If they decide to "Battle"
with the other character, they can play a game of head-to-head Sudoku or
participate in a competitive game of online "Hoops."
    "Time Tangled Island"  joins two other islands on this virtual world for
kids: "Early Poptropica" and "Shark Tooth Island." All the islands offer a
wealth of educational games for kids. When kids arrive on "Time Tangled
Island," they will find that a malfunctioning time machine has messed up
history. By powering up the island's Future Machine, they can help the
inhabitants of "Time Tangled Island" get history back on track. Woven through
the island's educational games and activities are historical facts and other
information, provided by the skilled editors at Fact Monster, Family Education
Network's tween destination for homework help and facts on thousands of
subjects. To repair the history of "Time Tangled Island," kids engage with and
learn about Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence, the ascent of
Mt. Everest, the building of the Statue of Liberty, Aztec civilization
(shortly before the Spanish Conquest), the future as it might be (with
alternate energy sources, etc.), Ancient Greece, Thomas Edison and his
laboratory, Viking explorers, the building of the Great Wall of China,
Leonardo da Vinci and his workshop, Lewis and Clark, and Mayan civilization.
    On "Early Poptropica," visitors help the island's first settlers recover
their missing prized possessions. And when exploring "Shark Tooth Island,"
kids will discover that the citizens there are having big shark trouble and
need help uncovering the secrets that will save their island.
    Visitors to Poptropica will regularly discover new islands to explore.
The next addition, "24 Carrot Island," is expected to launch in the next few
months. The collection of islands will grow to 10 by the end of 2008,
providing even more territory for kids to explore.About PoptropicaDeveloped by Family Education Network, the makers of Funbrain, Poptropica
is a virtual world where kids can travel, play games, collect objects and
compete with other players in head-to-head competition. Players can also
safely interact and communicate with other inhabitants of Poptropica. There
are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world, and players can
read digital books and comics and watch movies along the way.
    Family Education Network is part of Pearson, the world's largest
integrated education company. Pearson's other primary operations include the
Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.



For further information: Lisa Wolfe of L. Wolfe Communications, 
+1-773-325-9935, lwolfe@lwolfe.com, for Pearson Web Site:
http://www.poptropica.com                  http://www.pearsoned.com