What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while we don't recommend kids this young play alone on the computer, WEBKINZ JR. is so easy to navigate that most 3- to 6-year-olds could easily do so. There's no reading required, and many of the games teach preschool- and kindergarten-relevant skills like shapes, letters, and numbers, as well as emotional awareness, map knowledge, and matching skills. Parents have their own login and area to set their child's skill levels and manage the account.
Is it any good?
Once you set the difficulty settings for your child's ability level on his or her WEBKINZ JR. account, this site is so easy to navigate that it takes very little if any parental assistance even for preschoolers. The same basic Webkinz world applies here, but without chat features. Each Webkinz animal -- a dog or monkey, for example -- gets its own little house, park, store, and classroom, and it's up to your child to take care of it. No doubt, this site promotes computer use at a very young age. But there are many educationally appropriate games for the pre-K and K set on this site. And the confidence they build by being able to navigate a safe, adorable, intuitive site on their own makes this site among the top picks for the youngest computer users.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the amount of screen time allowed in your home. Negotiating screen time wisely starts early. If your preschooler loves Webkinz Jr., consider offering computer time in place of one of his favorite television shows instead of adding to the amount of screen time.
Even though Webkinz Jr. isn't a full-fledged online world with chat features, read Common Sense Media's Parent Advice on Online Worlds for Young Kids Tips because this site does have some virtual world traits, such as spending online "money" to buy things for your virtual pet.