GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 31

to the virtual Webkinz world. (At this point, children have on-screen avatars—doppelgangers—of their pet.) Every time a child logs in to Webkinz. com, she is responsible for the care and feeding of this virtual counterpart to the actual toy she owns. A child begins with a certain amount of KinzCash in her account, which she may use to “buy” food, clothes, extra rooms (including yards or swimming pools), and accessories, like home furnishings, TV sets, etc. There’s a meter on the screen that shows, via scores, the pet’s current state of health, happiness and hunger. Feeding it, playing with it and buying it things all improve the score. Of course, a child quickly goes through the initial supply of KinzCash, creating the need to earn more. This is done through games. There’s a Webkinz arcade with lots of learning-based video games and contests. The scores children earn get translated into extra “cash,” which they use to purchase pet comforts. In a highly controlled way, they can talk with other owners of Webkinz pets, as well. Playing educational games, learning to negotiate the Internet and understanding the power, and fun, of kid-chat are all upsides to sites like Webkinz. But, take care. While it’s useful to remind ourselves that children have to learn to deal with the information superhighway one way or another, there’s reason for concern. Additionally, there are reasons to be anxious over too much advertising that could lead to greater materialism. Some wise pointers: 1. Learn about Web sites your grandchildren visit. Always go on 2. Grandparents should always get permission from the parents Internet sites with them and learn about each site together. This way you can discuss choices, and discuss what to do and not to do. before allowing Webkinz pets. 3. Supervise and set limits: There’s not a reason in the world you can’t control the time spent on Webkinz (or any other site). For young children, a half hour a day or less is plenty on any particular site. Discuss time limits with the parents. the children’s bedroom or your guest room. 4. The computer the children use should be in a public space, not in 5. While the site Webkinz Tips  is not official, it is full of important 6. Establish ground rules for Internet safety. Webkinz is completely suggestions for caregivers, game explanations, information on purchasing Webkinz pets, and so on. safe, in all respects, for children; but not all sites are, so here are a few general tips from Dr. Needlman: No sharing of personal information, no sharing of pictures to people unknown, no giving of passwords to others, and always treat people with consideration; that is, don’t be rude, even anonymously. What are the downsides? While there are reasons to embrace Webkinz and other sites like it, we need to be aware that there are justifiable issues for grands to worry about. Frankly, says Robert Needlman, M.D. (the physician who updated Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care , it’s unhealthy to be lost in a virtual world to the neglect of real-life conversations, real experiences and real friends. We have come a long way from our parents’ use of poetry and stories to teach us how to care for pets and, ultimately, ourselves. As a small child, I remember talking with my MARCH 2009 GRAND 31
http://webkinz-tips.com/ http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=62-0743476689-0

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - March 2009

GRAND Magazine - March 2009
GRAND View
Contents
GRAND Central
Isn't it GRAND?
The Hippest Grand of All?
Saying Goodbye
Necessities, Not
The Perils of the Purse
Take Care
Sexy at Sixty
50 ‘Hidden Treasure’ State Parks
Resources
GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - intro
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND Magazine - March 2009
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 3
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND View
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 5
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 7
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 8
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 9
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 10
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND Central
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 12
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 13
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 14
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 15
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 16
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Isn't it GRAND?
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - The Hippest Grand of All?
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 19
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 20
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 21
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Saying Goodbye
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 23
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 24
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 25
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Necessities, Not
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 27
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - The Perils of the Purse
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 29
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Take Care
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 31
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 32
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 33
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Sexy at Sixty
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 35
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 50 ‘Hidden Treasure’ State Parks
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 37
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 38
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 39
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 40
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 42
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 43
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Cover3
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Cover4
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