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.
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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