Whyville is an educational virtual world for curious minds to explore, learn, and create together. Our information practices are designed to facilitate Whyville's goal to promote and foster learning, while complying with the United States Federal Trade Commission's Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule, effective April 21, 2000.
To register in Whyville, we do NOT require name, street address, or telephone number. We ask for a screen name and a password. In order to comply with federal guidelines for protecting children of younger than 13 years of age, we also require the birth month and year. If a child enters a birth date indicating that he/she is under 13, we require a parent's email address which we use ONCE to notify the parent that his/her child has registered at our site. This email address is not collected in our records. For registrants 13 years or older, we require an email address that is used only for our automated system of password retrieval and for sending announcements of new features, activities, and events. These announcements are sent ONLY if the registrant opts in for receiving them.
We ask for the gender of our users. Users also have the option of telling us their grade level and whether they are a student or a teacher.
Age and gender information provide us with valuable demographics that will allow us to continue developing Whyville in ways that suit our audience. We use this information internally in Whyville to improve function and quality of our site.
If an account has been inactive for 2 years or longer, all of this user information associated with the account is purged from our database.1
Managing Your Information
Whyville offers users and their parents the ability to view or delete the user information described above at any time. To do this, click here. All you will need is the correct username and password. We actively collect this information only during registration. This tool allows you to remove any or all of this information and effectively stop us from using it any further. Participation in a Whyville activity is not conditioned upon the user providing more personal information than is reasonably necessary for the activity.
Whyville's communication tools facilitate the interactivity and richness of our community. These tools include chat, internal city mail, and bulletin boards. These channels of communication are considered as being higher risk. Whyville chat, internal mail, and bulletin boards are protected by our proprietary filter technology, selective monitoring by staff members, and peer reporting, but they are NOT moderated continuously on a 24-hour basis. Please read our policy statement and learn about our safety tools. In compliance with federal regulations, we require users who declare that they are under 13 to obtain explicit prior parental permission before participation.
Cookies are small bits of information we send to a user's computer. They allow us to remember who this user is as he/she travels around Whyville. Because Whyville is a rich community where Whyvillians have an identity and own property ranging from land to house to furniture to Whyville "clams", the functionality of our site is dependent on our ability to recognize our users.
We recommend that you enable the option "cookies that are sent back to their originating servers" on your browser. Our cookies do NOT remain on your machine after you leave Whyville, while allowing you to experience Whyville fully.
Web Visit Logs
We routinely collect our users' visit information including pages visited on Whyville, the date and time of the visit, IP address, and the version of browser used. We use this information for improving Whyville's content and services and for investigating cases of suspected abuse.
We will not sell your contact information or information about your account to any third parties. Personally identifiable information will not be provided in any form to third parties except in cases where such information is required by a service provider for our use for direct communications with you, but such information will be restricted in all cases exclusively to our access and use.2 You can opt out of communications from Whyville that may involve a third party service provider from your Info & Preferences Page. We may comply with requests for personally identifiable information from law enforcement or other governmental agencies, or requested pursuant to subpoena. We may share aggregated statistical data with our sponsors, partners, or the general public. For example, we may announce in a press release that 67% of our users are girls, that 50% of our users are Canadians, or that 85% of the visitors in the last month has participated in a specific game or activity.
From time to time, Whyville may collaborate with sponsors and academic researchers to conduct research on Whyville. The research may involve analysis of extracts from the data Whyville routinely collects on users and their activities. The extracts that the sponsors or researchers have access to will not include any personal information of users. If the study seeks to access any further information or participation from Whyvillians, additional permission from a parent or guardian will be required, and the information will be available in Whyville's Whyology Center.
Whyville.net is owned, produced, and maintained by Numedeon, Inc. For questions regarding Whyville, please email email@example.com.
Whyville c/o Numedeon, Inc.
300 S Raymond Avenue #7
Pasadena, CA 91105
Tel: (626) 683-3129
Fax: (650) 227-2349
1. This sentence of the section titled "Personal Information" was updated on February 11, 2010 and applies to all unexpired accounts as of this date and accounts registered on or after this date. Previous to this change, Whyville accounts were expired after 6 months of inactivity.
2. These first two sentences of the section entitled "Third Parties" was updated on March 5, 2008 and applies to only accounts registered on or after this date. The previous version, as follows, continues to apply to accounts registered before March 5, 2008: We do not share any personally identifiable information of our users with any third parties, commercial or otherwise.
COPPA prohibits website operators from conditioning a child's participation in an activity on the child's disclosure of more personal information than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity. This provision prevents tying personal information from children to popular and persuasive incentives like games and prizes, and preserves a child's access to such activities.
For further information about the FTC's rules on children's privacy protection (COPPA), read this document.