Okay, so my sister was talking to me about webkinz, which for those of you unfamiliar are basically Beanie Babies that have a code connected with them that you can log online and connect with other webkinz users. At first, I thought that it was a cool idea, but then I started thinking about the danger this could impose to kids using this online feature. My cousin is 5 and he has a webkinz that he actively goes online with and joins different ‘playrooms’ where they can interact with other kids.
The issue that I saw with this, is as i mentioned my sister (who is 20) brought this up because her and her college friends had bought two and would go online and just mess around with the online features. While she was doing this she came across a couple questionable characters, such as kunt** (i took out the numbers just for anonymity), which i think its offensiveness and maturity can easily be seen to us as adults but to a 7 year old wouldnt draw any red flags. Although the functions of the online play world limits users to certain phrases and questions like, “What is your favorite color?” i feel as if it got into the right hands it could be used for misconduct.
in my opinion, i think it is opening up children to this online world way too early. Do you think that there should be certain regulations to the age of online users? Not to say that there aren’t some computer programs that completely children-friendly and dont allow any communication among users, but once that door is opened do you think that we are opening the door to possible online predators? Do you think this is a good idea for kids to be using?
Or are any of you on the side of David Williams, who claims in his recent column that “Kids won’t know the world without Web”? Do you really think it has become such a facet that it should be used at such an early age for gaming?