The Chocolate Lady

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My life as a virtual grandma

I remember hearing about Webkinz months ago. I was at our local toy store, and there was a frenzy of buying for the furry little creatures.

"You can register them online, and they are virtual pets, where the kids learn to take care of them. It's great for teaching responsibility!" Said our perky toy store owner.

The last thing my kids needed was "virtual responsibility", I was happy that they hadnt been hooked into this craze.

Fast forward to a couple months ago, when an UNNAMED GRANDMA purchased a generation of "virtual great-grandchildren" for Pooper's birthday. It was like a pet expolosion that weekend, and the results, are 8 new members of our online family.

Pooper has; Red Eye (tree frog), Sweetie (the black cat), Duey (the bull dog), and Brownie (monkey).

Beauty has; Twinkle Star Pink (the poodle) and Cutie (the panda)

*somehow* I got roped into caring for Little One's; Ruffy (the cocker spaniel) and Froggy. I cant help feeling like my teen daughter had children out of wedlock, and Im now one of those grandparents raising up the next I log on each day to feed, bathe and care for these little creatures.

For those who have been fortunate enough to miss out on this phenomenon (count your blessings), let me give you a little lesson.

You can buy a stuffed animal, which comes with a secret code, and then go to the Webkinz site online and register your pet. The Webkinz site knows the type of animal, based on the unique code, and it gives you a room (which you can decorate and furnish), a birth certificate and a little bio. You get to name your pet, determine it's sex, and then take care of it.

Each pet has 3 meters; health, happiness and hunger. It's up to you, to make sure your pet get's good care, is fed, etc. or they will get sick...and who knows what happens then! You can keep track of how you are doing by the meters, and making sure that all three aspects of your pet's life are being nourished.

You can earn money in the arcade, or doing daily tasks or at the employment office.....and you also must buy food, provide exercise, love and attention to your little pet. They also have stores where you can buy furniture, knick knacks, toys, a garden, all kinds of household stuff. Sounds easy.

My kids were all gung-ho to take care of their webkinz the first week, and it's not that their interest in the activity has lapsed, not at all, it's just that, well, my kids are horrible parents.

Pooper in particular, is the poster child for a dead-beat dad. Ive logged on to see how my virtual grandchildren were doing, and have been horrified at the lack of responsibility he has shown.

I know, I know, they arent real..........and, he's 7, but.........

It's kind of pathetic to see pets whose hunger meter is in the starvation range, and they have become so sick that there is an "ice pack" on their head (webkinz icon which means you need to take your pet to the doctor).....and there is no food in the home, and no money in the bank....

and yet, their father that is virtually starving them, has paid thousands of dollars to deck out his pad with bamboo floors, rock star posters, every odd knick knack, and a closet full of funky hats. Pooper gets particulary excited to tell me about all of his latest webkinz shopping sprees....recently, he has purchased a movie studio with actors, a fancy desk and bookcase, he has every possible electronic gadget for his pets.....but NO FOOD.

My Honey was particulary concerned, when he saw Duey in the arcade, with pink fuzzy sleepers, a cowboy hat, and polka dot pants.....

"Isnt Duey a boy?" he asked

"I guess" I wondered

"Why is he dressing his boy pets like hookers?" he said with concern

"starved hookers" I pointed out.

Im glad Ive still got some years to teach him about finances and responsibility, and that this is all a game, but Ill tell you that it scares me to think about the future....and Im worried that Im raising the next K-Fed.


Estrelleta said...

This reminds me of the web which seems to be the same idea, except without buying any "pet". When I was younger I was hooked. It's just a phase, don't worry.

Mom on the Run said...

My 4-year-old gets very frustrated with Webkinz games. He wants to earn money to buy things, but then gets stuck on the games. I have had to close the game on him twice as he was so upset. His Dad will go on to the site and "earn" money for him. I think it is just a vicious cycle.

He sees his sisters (9 and 11) racking up points and staring transfixed at the screen. He wants to do the smae. He just is too young.

Cortney said...

I almost spit out the water I was drinking. That is TOO funny! My sister bought one for each of my cousins a few Christmas' ago because they were on sale and now they own like 8 million of them and my aunt can't find all the new ones they want. Webkinz are taking over the world!

The Running Girl said...

My kids love webkinz. I think they have 9 between the two of them and would have more if I would let them. But lucky for me, my kids are old enough that they actually do take care of theirs. I haven't been on the site once. Maybe your kids will catch on soon. And if not, Grandma J can log on from her home and take care of them, too!! (ha ha)

Abzdragon said...

This post made me "lol"... starved hookers!! Haha!! I have heard in passing of Webkinz but apparently they are the equivalent of the TY Beanie Babies a few years back. *shrugs* I love games like that... I still log into my neopets account from time to time... of course, I am 21 and care for a German Shepherd and fiance full time!! :)