Ashley’s Christmas List in One Word

  
Ashley (my 10 year old) and I were hanging out today and she let me know about some of the items on her Christmas list… and they all have one thing in common: WEBKINS.
 
If you’re not a parent of young child right now, you might not be aware of these real cyber pets. Yes… they’re real. They are actual stuffed animals that you can snuggle with each night. And yes… they’re cyber. You can register them on the Webkins site and enter an “exciting online experience where your plush pet comes to life!” 
  
It’s brilliant marketing actually. When your kid brings home your Webkins toy, they log onto the site and enter the “secret code” that comes with the pet. They officially “adopt” the pet, naming them and deciding whether it’s a boy or girl. They then instantly receive “Kins cash” where they can decorate their “virtual room,” redecorate, buy clothes, etc.
  
Here’s the clever part. They keep kids coming to the site by providing “meters” that tell you how your pet is doing. There are three meters: happy, health and hunger. Playing and exercising your pet keeps these meters high. How do you do this? Online of course.
 
Sigh.
  
So yes, we as parents have to watch and limit our kids’ internet time so that our kids get some time ACTUALLY exercising outside (yeah, really outside… breathing real air!) instead of just “virtually” excercizing.
  
Ashley is our little dog lover, so lucky for us, she likes to take her real dog (Jethro) and play soccer with him in the back yard each day. He’s huge. He can grip a fully inflate soccer ball in his mouth (hilarious to watch!).
  
So, since she seems to be balancing the Webkins fad responsibly, I might just have to consider the new Webkins Penguin or German Shepherd for Ashley this year.  🙂

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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