If your child has or wants a Webkinz, you should learn as much as possible about what Webkinz is. The Webkinz craze is unlike any other toy craze because of the Internet twist. These toys exist both in the real world and in the virtual world. Offline, the kids have a stuffed animal to play with. Online, kids care for their pet, take them to the vet, and earn money to pay for toys. This is a great toy for teaching children to be responsible, not just for the pet, but for money as well.
Once the toy is purchased, the owner has access to the Webkinz website. On this site there are a number of areas. One of these areas is Gameplay. Gameplay is the place where all of the pet-related stuff happens. When the new owner first logs on, they are given a room to keep their pet in and a place for the pet to sleep as well as some food, a welcome balloon, and some money (called kinzcash). The game then commences as the pet owner builds a bigger place for the pet, feeds the pet and buys it toys, and cares for the pet when it gets sick.
One of the more interesting twists to this game is that pet owners can earn more kinzcash by playing games. There are a number of arcade style and trivia style games that the owners can play. One of the catches that parents might not like about this is that adopting a pet only allows one year of play. If your child wants to continue playing, he or she must adopt a new pet after the year is up. Kind of the gift that keeps on giving, right? Once you adopt a pet, you must keep on adopting pets every year.
Another thing that might concern you as a parent is the amount of time that your kid might spend playing games. Ever since the days of Atari, video games have been a bane to parents. Kids would rather glue themselves to a joystick or a keyboard than go outside and play. They would certainly rather be online than doing homework. Giving them a toy that encourages video game playing as much as Webkinz does might not be a great idea if you struggle with pulling your kid away from the computer.
If the amount of time your child spends playing Webkinz gets out of hand, you can always set limits. One half hour of gaming per day per kid should allow your children to take adequate care of their pets without becoming Internet zombies. You should also take a look at the parental control options and decide if you want your child to participate in the Club House (chat room) or not.
There are reports of schools banning Webkinz because of the distracting influence in the classroom. Most classrooms now have web connections, but children are not allowed to play games on school computers. Webkinz is a big temptation, especially if a child wants to show their rooms and pets to their friends. If you do buy a Webkinz for your child be sure to set boundaries concerning playing Webkinz at school.
Some parents might worry about the type of games available. While there is no gambling going on, because kids don’t have to put up money to play, many of the games are gambling type games. Both the “Wishing Well” and the “Wheel of Wow” are gambling style games and children can “win big” with the right amount of luck. If you don’t want your kids exposed to gambling style games, Webkinz is probably not the toy for you.
Go on the Webkinz website (webkinz.com) and look at the game before deciding if you want to purchase a Webkinz for your child.