Using Whyville

by Barbara J. Feldman on November 25, 2009

Whyville is a great online multiplayer gaming world that was designed for children aged six to sixteen. Similar to other web sites designed for children, Whyville allows it’s users to create a virtual world where they can participate in games, discussion boards, and several other things. It’s a great way for children to learn about what is happening in their community and they can learn about other things like art and science. Unlike other multiplayer gaming sites, Whyville focuses more on educating its users.

The reason why Whyville is so popular is because it is focused on building an online community that is geared toward education. This immediately attracts parents to the site as they are looking for a safe social networking site for their children to spend their spare time on. Unlike other sites, children aren’t just wasting time playing games, they are learning as they are playing.

How to use Whyville

It’s relatively easy to use this gaming world, all you need is an email address in order to sign up. It’s free to use, which is uncommon for many of the online gaming sites. Whyville is a 2D world and it is quite different from all of the other social networking sites because it is not nearly as flashy or pretty as Facebook and Webkinz. Although it may not look as pretty as other sites, it definitely provides it’s users with a hands-on experience where they can participate in science projects and they can play games that are focused on math.

Once you are on the site, you need to choose an avatar. You can create your own avatar if you don’t want to pick one of the template avatars. To build an avatar, you need to earn clamshells. Clamshells are earned by playing games and participating in the discussion boards.

What is Whyville all about?

The biggest social gathering area on the site is called the Greek Theatre. This is where you get to attend ‘town’ events and hang out with your friends. Users on the site enjoy it not only for its educational value but for the fun virtual world environment. You can create your own business; hang out at the beach, run for a seat in the Whyville Senate, writing for the town paper, or buying a car. The real world experiences that are available on the site will help children learn about real-world situations as they continue to grow and learn and decide upon a path for their future.

What is the drawback to Whyville?

As mentioned earlier, Whyville is not as pretty as other online worlds, which is why some people don’t like it. However spending time on the site and interacting with other users will change your mind. Since it’s focused toward tweens and teens, the site has been designed to attract them. You can sign up for a guest pass to experience this virtual world and to see if this is something that you will enjoy. However, there is not a screening process to verify the age of the users along with who they are. This means that some of the users may not be who you think they are. Some people have criticized the site as being a feeding frenzy for pedophiles while others simply call for site moderators to take action. The site is not monitored at all, which can make it unsafe and quite dangerous to children. Parents can check on their child’s avatar and profile information, but they do not have access to stop them from participating in the chat rooms where they can meet potentially dangerous individuals.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Using Whyville." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 25 Nov. 2009. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/616/using-whyville/ >.