If you are a parent of elementary school aged children then you know what a Webkinz is – a stroke of marketing genius to help separate us and our kids from our money.
These fuzzy stuffed animal pets, that aren’t really even pretty, have become the rage with the elementary school set. Buy a Webkinz animal and get a code to logon to Webkinz world online. Although I think that the push of the website is to encourage our kids to buy more and more, that is your decision as a parent to feed that or not, but what about the website, is it safe and fun?
The online games are fun for kids and very easy even for the youngest Webkinz fan. As bad as the Webkinz animals look in real life online they are adorable and their actions and movements are cute in the online world. One of the big features of the site is the addictive and fun games. The Webkinz dollars you win are used to purchase items for your Webkinz house and garden. I found the house stuff to load slowly and be annoying as a parent to watch load, but my two girls age 11, are absolutely ga-ga over them. Webkinz encourages kids to log on every day to search for gems, that you install in your Webkinz crown.
I took a look at the games and for kids, they are fun and creative. There is a chat area, but you must select the sentences and cannot write your own text guaranteeing a safe environment for all. The kids love this site and I think that it is nice, fun, and safe.
My one big issue is the focus on consumerism. Some parents may be sensitive to this and others not care at all. The site features a pet of the month, encouraging kids to buy it each month so that they will have greater access to unique items and games if they have the pet. Encouraging kids to log on every day to get the gem of the day is another ploy. Oh and how about the discount and extra perks to own three, ten, and twenty Webkinz. Each Webkinz costs between $13.99 to $16.99 so the dollars start to add up fast!
If your kids have just told you they don’t care about all of that, the least expensive place we’ve found to buy them is at Hallmark. There we paid $13.99 versus $17.50 at Limited Too. So Webkinz can be fun, is surely safe, but you may be spending more than you want for the stuffed animals to feed your kid’s desire for more. For us, I have now limited the animals to three each!