Kajeet™ Gets Kids Talking at Whyville.net
How does a hip cell phone designed for tweens offer service within a thriving and social virtual world? Fun and customizable chat bubbles!
Whyville.net, the longest-running virtual world for tweens, has partnered with kajeet, the first pay-as-you-go cell phone service made from a kid's point of view, to allow its community of over 2 million citizens the chance to create their own chat bubbles and easily connect with their friends.
Chatting is one of the most popular features in Whyville, so citizens have jumped at the chance to customize their experience and creatively express their personalities to their online friends. Tens of thousands of Whyville citizens have already visited the "kajeet Chat Factory" in the Whyville mall during the first four weeks of its grand opening, and are using their virtual money, called clams, to purchase and design their chat bubbles by choosing the color, border and dialogue style. The Chat Factory also offers Whyville citizens an opportunity to meet and interact with the six animated characters (kajeet calls them dudes) that represent the unique personalities and attitudes of the customers that kajeet was designed to serve. Additionally, kajeet is offering an online Friend Finder service that allows a citizen to contact another with a personal invitation to meet and hang out at a cool Whyville destination.
"Partnering with Whyville makes sense to us for a lot of reasons, as we're both companies that respect kids, believe strongly in educating them about technology and that look to them to help create the products they're using," said Daniel Neal, CEO and founder of kajeet. "kajeet and Whyville are empowering kids to communicate with each other in new and exciting ways online, just as our cell phone service allows them to do so offline."
In addition to enabling personalized customization among kids, Whyville and kajeet have designed tools within their respective products to allow families to safely integrate technology into their daily lives. For example, Whyville requires all new citizens to take a test before they can chat. The test is designed to teach not only the rules of Whyville, but safe and appropriate chat behavior in general. Even the names of each company reflect their dedication to tweens: kajeet is an anagram of the founders' children's names, while Whyville is named for its founding principle that asking why is a necessity of learning.
"We know tweens and, to a tween, being connected is a top priority," said Jay Goss, Chief Operating Officer of Whyville's parent company, Numedeon, Inc. "Now with this partnership with kajeet, tweens can not only be connected in Whyville, they can also personalize their experience. It is the best of everything for a tween."
Swivel Media, kajeet's experiential agency with marketing expertise in real and virtual worlds, saw the potential for seamlessly integrating the kajeet brand into the communication culture of Whyville, by creating the concept for the "kajeet Chat Factory" with customized branded chat bubbles. "We understand that both companies share similar ideals about talking with tweens and making sure what they offer involves what kids want most: the ability to make it all their own," said Erik Hauser, founder/creative director of Swivel Media. "Our goals were to ensure that Whyville citizens saw kajeet as synonymous with a fun and personalized way of connecting and communicating with their friends, and we're clearly off to a great start!"
Whyville.net is the longest-running virtual world for boys and girls, ages 8 to 15. For eight years, the site has successfully created an environment that engages its vested "citizens" to learn about life, while having fun. Inside Whyville, tweens play, earn, socialize, learn, design, eat, dance, govern and much, much more. For sponsors, Whyville enables organizations to be on the inside of the virtual world, providing them with the means to truly interact with this hard-to-reach demographic. Numedeon, the parent company of Whyville, was created by scientists from Caltech who combined research expertise in neuroscience with education experience to conceive of an innovative way to harness the power of the Internet for the purpose of engagement and real learning. In addition to its flagship property, Numedeon has developed a number of virtual worlds using its proprietary technology.
Kajeet, the cell phone service made for kids, is based in Bethesda, MD, but kids are the center of our universe. Kajeet keeps parents talking with their children and teens with online parental controls and kid-friendly features. With kajeet, there are no pesky contracts or surprise bills. Parents can find kajeet phones online at kajeet.com.