Monday, March 5, 2007

Webkinz World - How come I didn't think of this?

Walk into any home with preteens, and there is a good chance they will be on the computer on the webkinz.com site. Its approaching cult status among this age group, and boys and girls alike are hooked. So, true to the spirit of Curious George I just had to see what all the fuss was about. The first challenge is to even find one. Oh, yeah.. I'll describe what they are. They look like beanie babies only slightly larger, and have a "webkinz" logo on the paw. What sets them apart from any stuffed animal is that attached to each one is a little plastic tag that contains a unique password that allows the new owner to log in to the Webkinz.com site. More about the site in a moment. You can't find them at Target and Walmart.. that would be too easy. You have to sniff them out at specialty shops. I found one of the last ones at the Crazy Daisy on University Drive. Ran in to about 3 other Moms and their desperate daughters during the few minutes we were there... all indulgent Moms looking for the same thing for our spoiled kids. Finally found pay dirt at the Hallmark Store in Grand Prairie.. they had just gotten in a large shipment but were going fast. My kids selected the white bunny and the Chihuahua. We just couldn't wait to get home to log in to the sacred site. After logging on it dawned on me that the website had to have been created by either a)aliens or b) someone on hallucinogens. The fact is, it is genius. It allows the user to go in and create a virtual world for their new pet, including wardrobe, their room, in fact, an entire house, food, appliances, anything you can think of. There is a "happiness" meter that tells the user when the pet is hungry, sick, or lonely. You name the pet, "shop" for it at the mall and win money by playing their games. Pretty much the trifecta of Teen satisfaction. Now the older kids are getting the younger kids hooked. My 4 and 5 year old can navigate the website faster than Bill Gates. OK, confession, but I'll deny it if it's repeated. After the Kids are in bed, I play the games. You might try it. Then your kids will love you and think it is amazing that you have such a natural talent. What a bonding experience.

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