Kids have to buy a Webkinz plush pet with a code to gain access to this website. There’s also a “deluxe” membership that allows kids access to extra features, which can be bought online after purchasing the plush pet. Ads for Webkinz products appear on almost every page, and third-party ads (for things like shoes and cell phones) appear on the site, too. Parents can block third-party ads for 30 days by locating the tucked-away turn-off button. All third-party ads still appear on the main login screen.
Drinking, drugs, smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Webkinz allows kids to “adopt” their store-bought plush pet and care for it in an online virtual world for one year. Some of the games here are casino-style “pull-a-lever” games, while others are somewhat educational. Kids play them for points to buy stuff for their pet. Ads for Webkinz features and plush toys are plastered all over, and third-party ads (which can be shut off by parents for 30 days at a time) seem to populate the site now more than ever. Cheat codes for Webkinz are available online, so parents should talk to kids about how cheating online is the same as cheating in real life.
Is it any good?
This site is a favorite for many elementary school-age kids because of all of the colorful, fun things to do that mimic real-world responsibilities. It does promote shopping and spending — there are plenty of ways to earn and spend KinzCash (to buy clothes and furniture for the pet’s room), on- and off-line. The ads for Webkinz products and other third-party ads are all over the place, and the site doesn’t make it easy for parents to find where to turn the third-party ads off. Overall, Webkinz is slightly educational and mostly fun, which adds up for lots of repeat visits. Time limits are a must.
Online interaction: Kids can participate in KinzChat, which is a controlled, pre-scripted chat that prevents kids from sharing personal information. In regular KinzChat, you can only chat with others in games, unless you know your friends’ — then you can mail letters to them, and visit their Webkinz online “house.” Even in KinzChat PLUS, which is a filtered chat that parents must approve, members can report other members who aren’t chatting age-appropriately.
Families can talk about.
Kids may be tempted to play in virtual worlds for long periods of time. Families can also talk about setting computer time limits .
Families can talk about the prevalence of cheating and how Webkinz secrets and cheat codes are offered freely on the Internet. Ask your kid whether they think it’s OK to use cheat codes in a virtual world.
Love Hate relationship with this game.
As in my kids LOVE it. and I hate it. I first bought a webkinz toy as a b-day gift for my daughter. My kids love stuffed animals to death, so stuffed animal gifts are pretty common around here. I did not even REALIZE the whole online aspect of the toy when I first bought it, though it does help explain the price of such a small stuffed animal, lol. So my daughter gets it, falls in love with it, shows me the tag with the online code etc. that I totally failed to notice when I purchased it. (this is when I think, Oh cool! Bonus! She can play online games with this thing too! ) So feeling pretty good about my purchase I get her set up online, and she goes to town. At first I did not mind it so much, the music is a little annoying but I thought it was pretty cool that you have to buy things to take care of your pet (like you would in real life!). but the consumerism of the game really drives me nuts at times. I almost feel like they are tyring to brainwash kids into spending, spending, spending! Creating the NEXT generation of people who spend beyond their means and live in massive debt. On one hand, this can be a GREAT learning tool. As in how NOT to live real life, how to SAVE money, etc. (though I see no incentive in this game TO save. ONLY to BUY that really super expensive exclusive item. Yep that is right, they are teaching exclusivity too!) On the other hand, how many parents are using it as a teaching tool? Another thing I don t like about it is how EASY it is for them to get this kinz cash. Go work a job for like ten seconds and you have a full paycheck. Or go play a game to earn cash? (not just a little cash, but like thousands of dollars for a quick game!) Better yet, buy something and resell it for a super high price? All so these kids can earn obnoxious amounts of money to buy obnoxiously priced goods! (lets get them used to seeing a $95 price tag on a dress and buying it. So what? So when WE go shopping in the real world this looks like a reasonable price to my daughter. Or so they have no appreciation for how hard most people have to work for that kind of money. ) THIS is not how the real world works. You have to WORK for your money (well, for most people anyway, unless you have managed to have others work for your money or have your money work for your money!) playing games to win money is a form of gambling and if you buy something you do not get to resell it for loads of cash (you can try, but no one in their right mind will BUY it from you in the REAL world, lol) Add all these things to the annoying nature of the music ect. (if I hear that I wanna run, run, run. run. horse song one more time. ) it makes it REALLY hard for me to want to sit and teach my kids anything with this game. (though I fully admit there are some really good life lessons here to be learned) My daughter has 2 cousins and 1 real life friend she chats with on this game. I let her do it, because they all love it and its a time for them to chat and have fun. (and as my head is splitting from annoyance, I smile and pretend its all good while I try to teach her the lessons to be learned from this game. because, sigh, she is my daughter. and she loves this annoying game.) Now I make it a point to monitor this game with super vigilance, because quite honestly, I think this game unmonitored can be more harmful in the long run to a kid than other games that look far less innocent. (and I am not even getting into the whole buy more stuffed animals or deluxe membership etc. consumerism) But I actually heard an exchange between my daugher and her cousin (they were on speaker phone while both playing online, because like I said, this game needs monitoring) talking about, Sell your pets MEDICINE AND CAN OF SOUP to buy me that video game. And my daugher was going to do it, because you can! Can you imagine what this game could do to kids if left to play unmonitored. I think it is horrible. I understand that these are just kids playing, but I do not think you are doing your kid any favors by encouraging them to play things that allow them to earn easy money (hence giving little appreciation for how hard most people actually DO work. especially in this economy!) so they can spend, spend, spend. Go play games to earn money (umm, prelude to gambling?) so they can spend some more. Oh and lets not forget, go to fashion shows where other kids online can tell them how great or how ugly their clothing choices are. ugh. For me, the cons outweigh the pros. I think there are more constructive ways (that I find FAR less irritating) for my kids to spend their time learning these lessons. If they need some mind numbing down time, I think there are better ways to do this too without all the potentially negative influance.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
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