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Webkinz_-_The_Next_Big_Thing

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					Webkinz - The Next Big Thing

Word Count:
481

Summary:
Kids find out stuff way before we do. By we, I mean parents. What are
they finding out now? Webkinz.


Keywords:
webkinz, webkinz world, tamagochi, furbee, flush toy


Article Body:
Kids find out stuff way before we do. By we, I mean parents. What are
they finding out now? Webkinz. Yes you heard it right Webkinz. Do they
have anything special to do with the internet? I guess you could say they
do. Like the hundred or so fad toys before them, Webkinz are yet another.
They are not specially cute, but they are plush.

They come in all varieties, including pandas, ponies, unicorns, dogs and
my daughters favourite, monkeys. They are made by Ganz. Talk about rare.
The retail for around $14-15 as of writing but you try to find them!
Popular isn't the word for it. Do they talk and walk? No. What makes them
special is their 'secret code' - an ID that is imprinted on their collar
tag. The ID gives the owner a FREE year of access to Webkinz World.

Webkinz World is a site specially created for kids. Webkinz World has
games, contests and a 'virtual' or cartoon version of their real stuffed
animal. Just like facebook or myspace it also includes a 'social
networking' element that is safe for kids because they're specifically
limited to pre-set phrases to say.

Remember the Tamagochi and Furbees? For those not in the know - they were
a hit a few years back for kids and some adults alike. Much like these
the online Webkinz pets use artificial intelligence to simulate living
breathing creatures. Kids have actually started to report back that they
consider their pet to be 'alive'… If you ever had a Tabagochi or a Furbee
in the house, you are probably wondering whether it was healthy for a
child along with plotting how to do away with the endless beeping!

So, my opinion…

Is Webkinz like having a real pet? Should you let your child get into the
Webkinz fad?

One advantage is that it isn’t real. Don't get me wrong - I love pets.
These ones don’t shed hair, bite, bark, piddle, chew, eat, need a walk,
need looking after while you are on vacation. They also stay alive as
long as your child wants it to ;-)
Another advantage is that the Webkinz World is a safe environment where
no one gets out a gun and shoots or a sword and chops!
Disadvantages include restricting your childs creativity and imagination
by the software.
There is a danger that the online community will take the place of face-
to-face interaction.
Difficult to get hold of - Try buying a Webkinz on eBay - they are very
difficult to secure.
Without doubt Webkinz are commercially driven. Will they want more as
they tire of their monkey, unicorn or dog?
What happens after the first year? You lose site access - do you have to
buy another Webkinz?

What I would say is have a go online first before you let your child -
does it fit your family values? My daughter thinks so.

				
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