Saturday, 16 February 2008

How I Used Webkin toys to Connect with My Kids

What is Webkin? If you don't know the answer to that question where have you been living as of lately? The Webkin world is a youth based web site/Portal that allows kids to virtually take care of a selected animal. It starts by buying a Webkin animal doll which provides your child with a code to enter the website. Inside the website the child gets access to a virtual pet that matches their real doll. They get to start taking care of it and have the excitement of doing many things while on this website.

At first I was concerned as I was watching my daughter one day after numerous times surfing the Webkin site. I got interested because my daughter had never been interested in our computer before. Suddenly, my daughter wanted to learn as much about using the computer and the Internet as she could. My daughter is nine years old and into Hannah Montanna and that sort of thing so it was very interesting to watch her quickly develop a genuine love for using the computer. I asked her to explain to me what she was doing.

My daughter had figured out how to play online games, how to enter chat rooms, how to earn money doing jobs so that she could buy food for her animal and decorate her animal's room. She understood that she must feed it every day, she must go to work everyday so that she could continue to take care of her animal. I got somewhat nervous about my nine year old daughter having been in chat rooms and taking online jobs so I asked her to show me what she was doing as she was doing it.

Any parents reading this article may relax. My daughter entered the chat room and started chatting. The children using the chat room are allowed to pick from pre-designated questions and answers. As an example my daughter may ask you, "How are you today?". and the other child might respond, "You are so cool." But that is the extent of their chatting ability. No predators in these chat rooms. And if there were they have no access to your child to speak freely. ( Durbec, Jan 08, 2008)

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