For those who haven’t yet become Webkinz.com parents, Webkinz are small stuffed animals. Each one comes with a special code that allows you to “adopt” the animal online in a virtual community called "Webkinz World." Once adopted, Webkinz can make friends online, take classes, get a job, play games and more. Kids care for their Webkinz by providing food and drink, and giving them lots of attention. Let's review some of the best (and worst) aspects of Webkinz World.
Why Kids Love Webkinz World
Why Parents Love Webkinz World
One of the most appealing aspects of Webkinz World from a parental point of view is a focus on safety. There are very few ways for players to interact with each other. One of those is via chat rooms called “Clubhouses”. Parents can choose between two Clubhouses for their children. The first is geared towards younger members. Players can interact with each other through a menu of phrases and actions. The second Clubhouse allows players to type their own phrases, but filters out inappropriate content.
In addition to the safety considerations, Webkinz World encourages kids to participate in a full-fledged society. They can enroll in classes to earn special badges, but must complete a set number of courses before they “graduate.” This helps them understand the importance of delayed gratification. Players can also buy fun clothes, furniture, food, and toys for their pets, but must save up their money to do so. Since real Webkinz cost “real” money, parents can draw parallels between their kids’ online saving and their offline piggy banks.
What's Not Lovable About Webkinz World
Webkinz World at a Glance
- Designed for and appeals to children
- A nice range of games and activities will appeal to a variety of kids
- Strong safety controls in place
- Kids can be competitive over the number of pets they own
- Kids are encouraged to add to their Webkinz collections and you can’t access certain areas of the site without purchasing additional items
- Kids must enter a new Webkinz code at least once a year to keep their accounts active.
- External advertisements, despite the "premium" nature of the site (having to purchase an item to gain access)
Webkinz.com gets high marks for creating appropriate content, safe chat tools and an appealing environment for kids. The site loses a star for some unnecessary commercial aspects (including the "find the nearest store" icon that is ever present, and the items that are inaccessible without additional purchases) and the presence of external advertising.
* This Webkinz World review was edited on 12/19/2007 due to the addition of external advertisers on the Webkinz World website.