If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with Webkinz. These little stuffed animals are not only cute and cuddly, but they also come with a secret code allowing your child to “adopt” the pet on Webkinz World, the Webkinz website. As a parent, it is natural that you may have some questions as to whether your child should get on Webkinz World.
Webkinz World is a virtual playground for Webkinz owners and their pets. It’s not just a website, but an actual community for Webkinz. Your child can “take care of” his or her pet in the community. Each pet has its own room, clothing, food, and other items, and Webkinz owners can get items for their pets and themselves.
Essentially, Webkinz World is just like our world, in many ways. Kids can interact, earn “money,” buy things, play games, read the paper, and play with other kids.
That “just like our world” part may be troublesome to many parents. What do kids do? Is it safe? Is it something you want your kids doing?
Kids can interact with other kids and those kids’ pets on Webkinz, and chat with other kids. Parents should be concerned about any website that allows kids to chat, and Webkinz World understands this and has some very powerful filters in place. Not only is it difficult if not impossible to say anything inappropriate, but it is basically impossible to exchange any contact information. Webkinz World is as safe a place for your child as it is possible to be.
But what are they doing all that time? Kids will do things all day for fun that they wouldn’t do for five minutes if it was assigned in school, and Webkinz is no exception. For instance, the Webkinz News delivers all the news from Webkinz World each days. Most kids, even kids who hate reading, will read every issue of the Webkinz News to see what’s going on.
Most of the quizzes and activities on Webkinz World use skills kids learn in school, but that seems to be a secret from the kids, who think the activities on Webkinz are nothing but fun. They earn Webkinz money for doing various activities, and can spend the money on things for their pets. This teaches them financial skills, but don’t tell the kids.
Also be sure to not tell them that in “taking care” of an online pet they’re learning time management and responsibility, and that in interacting with friends on Webkinz World they’re learning social skills, as well as learning to type when they chat with other Webkinz World kids.
Most parents are initially concerned about safety, and may not give any thought to how good Webkinz World is for their kids. It’s a lot like the old cereal commercial, where parents aren’t supposed to tell the kids it’s good for them.
Kids would still want to get on Webkinz World if they knew it’s good for them, but they have a better time not knowing it.