What is a Webkinz?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

A Webkinz is a stuffed, plush toy created by Ganz. Ganz, a company based out of Canada, creates products carried in gift shops. Ganz struck gold two years ago when it introduced Webkinz to stores like Hallmark. Webkinz appeal to today’s child by marrying a classic stuffed animal with modern day technology.

Webkinz are virtual pets that come in many shapes and sizes. The large pet is a Webkinz; the smaller version is a Lil’Kinz. Each animal comes with a secret code. The owner uses the code to register, name, and adopt their pet. A registry completed online opens the door to a new realm known as Webkinz World.

Webkinz World is a virtual reality that is kid-friendly. The website has built-in safety features that keep children in line. Registration requires a secret code but no personal information is ever required or shared. Members can communicate in two clubhouses called KinzChat and KinzChat Plus. In KinzChat children use pre-constructed messages from chat menus. Parental permission is not required to enter this area. KinzChat Plus allows more freedom and does require parental consent. The adult must unlock the virtual door to this clubhouse. KinzChat Plus does not allow the user to type numbers, proper nouns, place names, or bad language. Members can only use words found in the site’s restricted dictionary. Restricted material, when typed, turns red. A message cannot be sent if it contains red words. The parent has the choice to block entry to KinzChat Plus. Otherwise, the child must e-mail their parent and wait for permission to enter.

Upon registry, each Webkinz owner has 2,000 KinzCash. KinzCash is the dollar of Webkinz World. KinzCash can used to buy rooms, furniture, decorations, food, clothing, and toys. These necessities and luxuries cost money. Playing games, answering trivia, completing jobs, and adopting more Webkinz can earn the owner additional cash.

Of course, there is a catch. When a Webkinz is adopted, access to Webkinz World is limited to one year. You must adopt and add a new pet to continue uninterrupted play. The new adoption will renew your account for one more year. The time is not cumulative. That means if you adopt and register five pets at once you get one year, not five. So, if you have multiple Webkinz it might be beneficial to spread the adoptions out! No matter, Ganz will never run out of children needing or wanting a new pet.

submitted by Mary Miller