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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Webkinz sneaks in advertising for kids

posted by Nell Minow

Webkinz is the most popular online site for children. If they buy a Webkinz toy, they can log onto the site where a virtual version of the toy will appear. Any real-life accessory they buy will show up on the site as well. They can create environments for the toys online and interact with the toys and each other. It can be a creative and satisfying experience and teach them some rudimentary programming skills. I do not approve of the way it keeps kids coming back by requiring them to continuously care for the pet if it gets “sick” because they forget to feed it, but I had considered it a fairly benign activity — until, without letting parents know, they began to accept advertising. According to the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, “Webkinz, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, is currently promoting the film Alvin and the Chipmunks. In addition to banner ads, the site is encouraging young users to actively engage with the movie by purchasing specially designed chipmunk costumes and food for their virtual pets. Bee Movie – a film that partnered with McDonald’s, General Mills and Brachs and has dozens of licensed products – was promoted in a similar way.” The CCFC has set up a site for parents who want to complain to Webkinz CEO Howard Ganz.

  • Micky Tillman

    Great Post!! I believe the webkinz are the best educational tool to come out in a long time as well. Yeah, sure kids seem to be spending more time online, but they are improving… Becoming more computor savy, raising there Financial IQ levels up “which is a great thing”. It’s best to learn all this stuff as early as you can in life. And the webkinz are doing just that. “Total Thumbs Up!!”
    Buy Webkinz

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