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Pen Pals Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Pen Pal Party! Here are some questions that a lot of
people have asked about this service, and pen pals in general. If you
have a question, that is not answered here, Please email us!
What is a PenPal? What is an "epal" or "KeyPal"
A penpal is someone you write letters to. Often, your penpal can
become a true friend. An "epal" or "keypal" is another way of saying "penpal"
but usually means someone you write to using email instead of pen and paper.
What is "snail mail?"
When people say "snail mail," they mean letters (or postcards) written on
paper and sent through the physical postal service. The "snail" in "snail mail"
refers to how slow the postal service is compared to email.
Why should I want a PenPal?
Well, it's always nice to have friends! Penpals can also help you
learn about other countries and other cultures. Sometimes, you can practice
a foreign language by writing to a penpal in another country. You'll find
that even though people are different, people in other countries often
have some of the same feelings and problems that you do, and having a penpal
can be just plain fun!
Why should I look for penpals on PenPalParty?
On PenPalParty.com, unlike some other penpal sites, we hide your email
address from people who visit the site. The only way someone can contact
you is through the website, and they will never have your email address unless
you email them back. This helps to keep your email address off of junk mail
lists, while still letting you post your request for penpals on the site!
How do I request a penpal? How do I post my profile?
Just click on the link that says, "Sign-up!" It will give you a form
to fill out so that you can tell a little bit about yourself and the kind
of penpals you're looking for. Your request will be posted on the site immediately after it is reviewed by the moderators (ususally within 24 - 48 hours).
How do I find a specific penpal (by age, gender, language, etc)?
Just click on the link that says, "Search". This will show you
a search form so you can search through our list of penpals, or just show
all the pen pal requests from other people.
I am a teacher, and I want to find penpals for my students. How can I find a class of a similar age or language for my students?
If you click on the "Teachers Only" link, it will take you to the Pen
Pal Party's "Teacher's Lounge." This is a special area for teachers
to look for penpals or request penpals for their classes.
How should I contact my new penpal?
When you find a pen pal in the list, and you want to contact him or
her, click on the "Contact:" link in their listing. This will bring up
a form that will let you email your pen pal. Write them a note that
introduces yourself and tells them something about you and why you are
writing them. It often helps if you mention something specific from their
profile, as that shows that you really read it and aren't just spamming
everyone in the database. :-)
If you do not
tell them at least your a/s/l (age/sex (male/female)/location), they probably
Is it safe to post a profile or respond to a penpal?
In a word: No. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Nothing on the Internet is truly "safe" just as nothing in the real world is safe. You could be attacked while walking down a nice street, and you could run into someone creepy online. You just never know.
- What is a PenPal? What is an "epal" or "KeyPal?"
- What is "snail mail?"
- Why should I want a PenPal?
- Why should I look for penpals on PenPalParty?
- How do I request a penpal? How do I post my profile?
- How do I find a specific penpal? (By age, language, gender, etc)
- I am a teacher, and I want to find penpals for my students. How can I find another class the same age or language as my students?
- How should I contact my new penpal?
- Is it safe to post a profile or respond to a penpal?
- How do I check if someone has sent me a message?
- Does Penpal Party allow Incarcerated members?
- Someone replied to my profile! How do I reply to them?
- I replied to my penpal but the email bounced! Can you help me find my penpal's real address?
- I posted my profile, but it's not there anymore! What happened to it?
- I accidentally chose the wrong expiration date or email and my profile was deleted! Can you get it back for me?
- How can I send email to US troops serving overseas?
Now, with that said, there are some things you can do to make yourself a little more safe.
NEVER give your real home address or telephone number out online.
If you're under 18, make sure your parents or guardians know who you're talking to. Yeah, we know, parents can be a drag, but they also might notice something you don't and save you from a serial killer.
NEVER set up a "real life" meeting with someone you've met online without
another adult there. (This goes whether YOU are an adult or not.)
Set up a free email account with yahoo or hotmail and use it only for penpal sites. If something goes wrong, you can drop that address and get a new one without losing your "real" address.
If you are between 14 and 16 years of age, BE SUSPICIOUS of everyone: you are the largest target age group for Internet predators.
ALWAYS report suspicious behavior or even things that make you uncomfortable! Each message from Penpal Party contains an "abuse" address for reporting.
READ our information about scams, thieves, and fraud. For some reason, scammers love to try to target penpal sites.
Finally, if something makes you uncomfortable, LISTEN TO YOURSELF. There's probably a reason for that. You are under NO obligation to reply to anyone online. Ever.
How do I check if someone has sent me a message?
ALL messages are sent directly to the email address you used when you signed up! There's no need to keep coming back and checking, because any messages will have gone to you! NOTE: Penpal Party messages often get stuck in Spam or Junk folders, so make sure you add firstname.lastname@example.org to your allowed sender list!
Does Penpal Party allow Incarcerated members?
Yes, as long as you follow the rules. Please click here for our additional policies for incarcerated members.
Someone replied to my profile! How do I answer them?
When someone replies to your profile, it is sent directly to your email address. Your penpal's email address is in the "Reply-to" header of that email message, so you should be able to reply to it like any normal email. If you cannot see your penpal's address, please contact your technical support people for your email, and ask them how to see the "Reply-to" header. Most normal email programs show this field automatically.
I replied to my penpal, but the email bounced! Can you help me find my penpal's real email address?
Unfortunately, if your penpal typed their email incorrectly, or put in a bad email address, there's nothing we can do to find out their correct address. We do not keep records of emails sent through the system -- each messages is simply passed on to you automatically. Here are some hints, though. Sometimes, people mistakenly put "www." on the front of their email address. We don't know why, but this is a common mistake. If the email you responded to bounced, and it starts with "www.", take out the "www." and try again. Also, sometimes people will put in "hotmail.co" when they mean "hotmail.com" or "hotmail.co.uk." Other times, people will misstype something like "yahoo.com" as "yahho.com". Sometimes you can tell what their real address might be by looking at it. Mostly, however, if the email bounces, that's the end. This is why we encourage people to be very careful when typing their email address.
I posted my profile, but it's not there anymore! What happened to it?
When you sign up, the system sends you a confirmation message with the information you entered. Unfortunately, if this email bounces back, the system will remove your profile automatically. This is to try to cut down on the frustration of having people come and try to contact people whose email address is no longer valid and keep the site up to date. Also, when you sign up, you choose an expiration date for your profile. If you accidentally choose an expiration date that is today, tomorrow, or earlier, the system will think your profile has expired and will delete it automatically. If this happens, feel free to post another profile!
I accidentally chose the wrong expiration date or email and my profile was deleted! Can you get it back for me?
Unfortunately, no, we cannot. For privacy reasons, we do not keep any information on file about profiles once they are deleted. If it's gone, it's gone for good. :-(
How can I send email to US troops serving overseas?
Unfortunately, this site is probably not the best site for that. There may be a couple of soldiers listed here, but they're just looking for friends like anyone else and may be hard to find. You should also know that email among service members in Iraq and other overseas locations can be problemmatic. Internet access is often unreliable, and for security reasons, service members may not be able to carry on email conversations.
However, with that in mind, here are a few options you may try:
"To Our Soldiers" is a site set up by the U.S. Army. It lets people post messages to our troops online. It doesn't let you email back and forth, but you can post your supportive messages here:
"Operation Dear Abby" is a site set up in conjunction with the U.S. Navy. It lets you post messages to "Any Service Member" so that service members with Internet access can read them online, or commanders can download them and print them out. You can read more about the service and post a message here:
There is also a page set up with information on various means of contacting or sending messages of support to our troops overseas. Again, pay particular attention to the various cautions about security. It's a sad thing, but sending postal mail to "Any Soldier" may be rejected for security reasons. This page has lots of information about different means of contact, though:
You can also contact the local Reserve or National Guard headquarters in your area, and see if there are local people who have been deployed overseas. You may be able to find people from your hometown who would love to hear from you and/or your kids while they're far away from home and loved ones. In addition, local military recruiting offices may have some suggestions for you as well.