Webkinz Website Poster Image

Webkinz

(i)

 

Virtual world for real toys with many ads pushing more toys.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids learn empathy by caring for their virtual pet. And while most games are positive and sometimes educational, others like "Wheel of Wow" tend to have a gambling feel to them. But there's another under-the-radar aspect to Webkinz: cheating. Webkinz doesn't promote it, but kids know that they can find cheats on the Internet for Webkinz missions. Also, though actual products can't be purchased on the site, kids go into the W Shop and use virtual cash to buy clothes, furniture, and objects for their pets. Kids can also add other toys to their "wish lists."

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Kids have to buy a Webkinz plush pet with a code to gain access to this website. There's also a "deluxe" membership that allows kids access to extra features, which can be bought online after purchasing the plush pet. Ads for Webkinz products appear on almost every page, and third-party ads (for things like shoes and cell phones) appear on the site, too. Parents can block third-party ads for 30 days by locating the tucked-away turn-off button. All third-party ads still appear on the main login screen.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Webkinz allows kids to "adopt" their store-bought plush pet and care for it in an online virtual world for one year. Some of the games here are casino-style "pull-a-lever" games, while others are somewhat educational. Kids play them for points to buy stuff for their pet. Ads for Webkinz features and plush toys are plastered all over, and third-party ads (which can be shut off by parents for 30 days at a time) seem to populate the site now more than ever. Cheat codes for Webkinz are available online, so parents should talk to kids about how cheating online is the same as cheating in real life.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This site is a favorite for many elementary school-age kids because of all of the colorful, fun things to do that mimic real-world responsibilities. It does promote shopping and spending -- there are plenty of ways to earn and spend KinzCash (to buy clothes and furniture for the pet's room), on- and off-line. The ads for Webkinz products and other third-party ads are all over the place, and the site doesn't make it easy for parents to find where to turn the third-party ads off. Overall, Webkinz is slightly educational and mostly fun, which adds up for lots of repeat visits. Time limits are a must.

Online interaction: Kids can participate in KinzChat, which is a controlled, pre-scripted chat that prevents kids from sharing personal information. In regular KinzChat, you can only chat with others in games, unless you know your friends' -- then you can mail letters to them, and visit their Webkinz online "house." Even in KinzChat PLUS, which is a filtered chat that parents must approve, members can report other members who aren't chatting age-appropriately.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the rules for playing safely in an online world.

  • Kids may be tempted to play in virtual worlds for long periods of time. Families can also talk about setting computer time limits.

  • Families can talk about the prevalence of cheating and how Webkinz secrets and cheat codes are offered freely on the Internet. Ask your kid whether they think it's OK to use cheat codes in a virtual world.

Website details

Genre:Virtual Worlds
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Webkinz was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • A commercial yet easy and educational site for preschoolers.
  • Site unveils new chat tool, makes it easier to find friends.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 13 year old Written bybusy mom 2 August 10, 2009

Beward of Webkinz Estore

Webkinz Estore--BEWARE!!!My children frequently purchase Webkinz and have lots of fun on their website, however, the Estore is a total disgrace. We recently saw a virtual pet, Pterodactyl, that my kids wanted to get, the cost of which was $12.50. To purchase a pet, you must first purchase points, which are non-refundable, that come in $10.00 increments. We purchased $20 worth to cover the 12.50 pet. After buying the points, and trying to purchase the pet, we found out that you must first have a Deluxe Membership, which is $15.00 for 3 months. This means that the virtual pet would cost at least $25.00. Nowhere did I see on their website an explanation of such. What a rip off and scam of young children. Ganz should be ashamed of themselves.
Educator and Parent of a 5, 7, and 9 year old Written by75MOMof3 September 26, 2009

Love Hate relationship with this game...

As in my kids LOVE it...and I hate it. I first bought a webkinz toy as a b-day gift for my daughter. My kids love stuffed animals to death, so stuffed animal gifts are pretty common around here. I did not even REALIZE the whole online aspect of the toy when I first bought it, though it does help explain the price of such a small stuffed animal, lol. So my daughter gets it, falls in love with it, shows me the tag with the online code etc. that I totally failed to notice when I purchased it. (this is when I think, "Oh cool! Bonus! She can play online games with this thing too!") So feeling pretty good about my purchase I get her set up online, and she goes to town. At first I did not mind it so much, the music is a little annoying but I thought it was pretty cool that you have to buy things to take care of your pet (like you would in real life!)...but the consumerism of the game really drives me nuts at times. I almost feel like they are tyring to brainwash kids into spending, spending, spending! Creating the NEXT generation of people who spend beyond their means and live in massive debt. On one hand, this can be a GREAT learning tool. As in how NOT to live real life, how to SAVE money, etc. (though I see no incentive in this game TO save...ONLY to BUY that really super expensive "exclusive" item. Yep that is right, they are teaching exclusivity too!) On the other hand, how many parents are using it as a teaching tool? Another thing I don't like about it is how EASY it is for them to get this kinz cash. Go work a job for like ten seconds and you have a full paycheck??? Or go play a game to earn cash? (not just a little cash, but like thousands of dollars for a quick game!) Better yet, buy something and resell it for a super high price? All so these kids can earn obnoxious amounts of money to buy obnoxiously priced goods! (lets get them used to seeing a $95 price tag on a dress and buying it??? So what? So when WE go shopping in the real world this looks like a reasonable price to my daughter??? Or so they have no appreciation for how hard most people have to work for that kind of money???) THIS is not how the real world works. You have to WORK for your money (well, for most people anyway, unless you have managed to have others work for your money or have your money work for your money!) playing games to win money is a form of gambling and if you buy something you do not get to resell it for loads of cash (you can try, but no one in their right mind will BUY it from you in the REAL world, lol) Add all these things to the annoying nature of the music ect. (if I hear that "I wanna run, run, run , run..." horse song one more time...) it makes it REALLY hard for me to want to sit and teach my kids anything with this game. (though I fully admit there are some really good life lessons here to be learned) My daughter has 2 cousins and 1 real life friend she chats with on this game. I let her do it, because they all love it and its a time for them to chat and have fun. (and as my head is splitting from annoyance, I smile and pretend its all good while I try to teach her the lessons to be learned from this game...because, sigh, she is my daughter...and she loves this annoying game.) Now I make it a point to monitor this game with super vigilance, because quite honestly, I think this game unmonitored can be more harmful in the long run to a kid than other games that look far less innocent. (and I am not even getting into the whole buy more stuffed animals or deluxe membership etc. consumerism) But I actually heard an exchange between my daugher and her cousin (they were on speaker phone while both playing online, because like I said, this game needs monitoring) talking about, "Sell your pets MEDICINE AND CAN OF SOUP to buy me that video game." And my daugher was going to do it, because you can! Can you imagine what this game could do to kids if left to play unmonitored???? I think it is horrible. I understand that these are just kids playing, but I do not think you are doing your kid any favors by encouraging them to play things that allow them to earn "easy money" (hence giving little appreciation for how hard most people actually DO work...especially in this economy!) so they can spend, spend, spend. Go "play games to earn money" (umm, prelude to gambling?) so they can spend some more. Oh and lets not forget, go to fashion shows where other kids online can tell them how great or how ugly their clothing choices are...ugh. For me, the cons outweigh the pros. I think there are more constructive ways (that I find FAR less irritating) for my kids to spend their time learning these lessons. If they need some mind numbing down time, I think there are better ways to do this too without all the potentially negative influance.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Parent Written byThe cool parent September 11, 2011

Love this website!!!

I love this website!! So do my 2 little girls who are age 8 and 9. Yes, you do have to buy the toy, but it's worth it. Very safe. It's truly a good website for children. I hope I helped!! :)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much consumerism

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?