Webkin’z Third Anniversary

webkinz.jpg If you haven’t heard of Webkinz, it’s the social media/computer game/stuffed animal craze that’s like taking Second Life, Tamagotchi pets, Beanie Babies and casual gaming, putting them in a blender and making it all extremely kid-friendly.

Today is Webkinz’ third anniversary, and they have special celebration type things “in world” so I thought it’d be a good time to write about it.

I bought my first Webkinz a couple months ago after hearing Podculture rave about them for almost a year. The basis is pretty easy. You buy a stuffed animal and get a special code for your pet to enter the virtual world.

webkinz_room-1.jpg

In world you get to set up your own room (and buy additional rooms for your house). You’re given virtual money (KinzCash) and some special items based on your character. Since I had a black cat I got a black cauldron bathtub, and a couple other furniture items. But, that’s not all. There’s also an arcade (where you can play casual games for KinzCash), a Clubhouse (where you can chat with other members, I’ll talk about this more later), an ‘Employment Office’ (where you can do ‘jobs’ – along the minigame idea – for more KinzCash), a couple stores (to buy things for your rooms) and much more.

The kid friendly part comes in chatting. You can only select specific phrases when you chat with other members. This keeps kids from giving away personal information and gives parents added piece of mind. As far as I know there’s no good way (unlike Club Penguin where’s it’s easy to get around the rules) to break the limitations. This makes it a great first “social site” for kids.

There’s a lot of different types of activities to keep you busy and interested, plus the extra motivation to log in each day. I even like the stuffed animal design. They’re very soft, and perfect size for cuddling (bigger than Beanie Babies). All in all, a great site and fun and relaxing for adults as well as their kids. I will warn parents though, there’s built-in motivation for buying additional pets. So if you don’t want to spend a bunch of money (pets are around $6-12) collecting all the animals, maybe you should steer clear.

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