Monday, April 7, 2008

Webkinz World

All three of my kids have been busy with Webkinz stuff for the past 5 months or so. I really like the concept. For those not familiar, basically you buy a small stuffed animal. $5-$20@. Toy comes with a code and kids go online to the webkinz website and "register" their pet. They pick out a username, name their pet, and chose male or female for their pet. They get a starter amount of "kinzcash." The Webkinz website is like training for real life. They have to decide where to spend their money. They have to feed their pet, take it to the doctor, exercise pet and play with it, furnish it's room. They can also go to the job board and work for more money, or play an arcade game or answer quiz questions. I like the unisex reality. My boys both love to "cook" and grow gardens. My daughter's favorite is gem mining. You can buy clothes- pinky stuff available. But nowhere does it say "pretty princess" on the clothes. If webkinz adhered to popular kid marketing strategy- the boys would be buying guns and the girls would be buying cell phones. And they would have separate stores, jobs, chat rooms and games. The only thing I found distasteful was the real life webkinz lip gloss and body spray for girls. I just don't think girls (ages 5-12 which is the target age) need to worry about what their body smells like. Luckily, I only see the toys and the trading cards at the stores.

The kids can go to different chat rooms and interact with kids all over the world, play tournament games and visit each other's rooms. It all seems predator-safe. The kids can only pick from scripted choices for the "chats" and visits. There is no dialogue in the tournament arena. I am really not doing the webkinz justice. There is so much to do, and room for kids to find their own niche within the site. Oh and I personally love the post office. Kids can send virtual (scripted) letters and gifts to other kids. They have to pay kinzcash postage and for any extras: gift wrap, etc.

If you are curious- check it out! And my 9yo third grade boy just has a blast. I don't think he is bragging to his friends about it, but he sure has fun ;) They have bulldog, gorilla, frog, tiger toy for the non-foofoo kids.

So Webkinz gets a big Smart Kids Award from me. Great gifts for birthday parties!


Phain said...

my 9 year old (girl!) loves webkinz world. another favorite of hers is i scoured both sites before we signed up and they are very similar in the safeguards and "levels" of chat/safe chat that they offer. with webkinz, she gets the id's from her friends at school and church and they all connect there. both are very fun sites!

(btw - first time on your blog, found you through WW - great pic above!)

Phain said...

thanks for your comment over at my place. the dog? she's english bully. i never saw the pit look about her till you pointed it out. i'll have to ask her owner (my sister-in-law) next time we talk. maybe she's not full english? see ya!