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What Should Parents Do About Webkinz?

Jan 19, 2008
It can be really amazing sometimes to see the toys that take off to huge popularity. Webkinz are an example of this. They're hugely popular with kids.

Why is that?

It's really not all that hard to understand. For those unfamiliar with these toys, they're a stuffed animal. But you don't just play with it at home. You can interact with a virtual version of it online. They're also collectible and new ones come out regularly.

On the Webkinz website, kids can log in and play with their pet. They can dress it up, make a home for it, take it to the vet and play games and contests to win prizes. They can also have more than one Webkinz pet if you buy them more.

Each pet comes with a one-year subscription to the site. After that you have to buy more time.

There's good and bad to this. Kids love playing with the toy as well as on the website, and they're learning a lot about using the computer. On the other hand it's easy for kids to become a little too obsessed and spend far too much time on the website.

As a parent, the important thing to do is figure out the balance you want your child to have. Set up rules for how long kids can be online. Make sure they do chores and homework before spending too long on the computer.

One of my own favorite rules is to agree upon a certain amount of "screen time" for each day for each child. This includes both television watching and playing on the computer, but if your kids are old enough to do homework on the computer, does not include time spent actively working on said homework. Messing around on the computer when homework is supposed to be getting done is of course counted against screen time.

Webkinz came out in 2005, and by the look of things their popularity is holding out rather well. The site is educational enough that you don't have to feel too bad about the time your kids spend on it, provided it is within moderation. Parents can even help their kids on it.

Perhaps the most sensible thing you can do as a parent is to be a part of what your child does on the Webkinz site. You might even choose to have one of your own, so that you can become fully familiar with the site. There are all kinds of websites out there that people have made about Webkinz if you want to make the most of it.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.buypopulartoys.com/ for people looking for the current popular toys at great prices. You can find Webkinz and other toys at her site.
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