The Webkinz display area at a local JC Penny’s store in Oklahoma City today looked pretty impressive at first glance.

Webkinz at JC Pennys

As my own children explored and examined the Webkinz pets available for sale, however, they discovered the following LARGE number of pets had been pillaged.

Webkinz with the codes stolen at JC Pennys

Their unique Internet access codes had been removed from the plastic pouches attached to the animals, or cut/ripped off entirely. The codeless animals which had been identified by sales staff as missing their code had been marked down half price. Hopefully well-intentioned adults wanting to purchase a Webkinz pet for a child will realize that without an Internet code, a Webkinz pet is no different from a “plain” stuffed animal. No Internet code, no Webkinz web access.

On a related note, thanks to Maria Knee’s suggestion in a podcast posted by Bob Sprankle last year, I used the Webkinz website several times last year in talks I shared with students about Internet safety and online social networking. Many students are learning about online safety issues contextually through Webkinz and other tween social networking websites. In several cases, students I asked to share their experiences on Webkinz (particularly with accounts they had lost control of because of simple or shared passwords) provided the most potent and memorable moments during these presentations.

It’s sad to see prolific evidence of Webkinz thefts like we did today at the mall. My kids all understood we were seeing the evidence of crimes committed at the store, which were just like shoplifting.

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On this day..

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  • http://ibloghere.edublogs.org Kathy Gryta

    That’s a shame – Penny’s should put some kind of notification on the damaged Webkins so that less tech-savvy parents won’t bring home a disappointment to their kids. 4th and 5th graders just love those toys. – Smart marketing, too.

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  • Ernesto

    There are two victims here. The first victims are the children of the unsuspecting parent who don’t realize the internet code has been ripped off. I have just entered the world of webkinz and believe me if I would have went shopping at that Penny’s I might have bought one of those half price webkinz thinking I was getting a deal.

    The second victims are all those webkinz. Did you see the look on there faces. Those webkinz didnt ask to have there inter codes RIPPED away from them! They were just sitting there looking all cute until a scumbag came along and ripped away their one true chance of being purchased. What a shame!

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