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

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More Than 14 Million Kids Learn and Explore on Poptropica, Virtual World From the Developers of Funbrain

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 Poptropica
Developed 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.

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LISA WOLFE
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