Webkinz: the Newest Next Thing to not Worry About

Imagine a school system's investing time and effort into banning a specific brand of stuffed animal from its schools because the carnival-prize-quality plush critters' presence violates an anti-bullying policy.

I want to go to this school. I want to see this kiddie Shangri-la where the tough guys are made of polyester. Then, from a safe distance, I want to see the adults who kick the fuzz balls to the kerb because they are interfering with scholastic law and order. This has happened in Easton, Massachusetts, as well as Colchester and Mansfield, Connecticut, so far. Why?

WBZTV reports:
In recent years, schools throughout Connecticut and nationwide have tried to minimize distractions by prohibiting everything from Pokemon cards to Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi cyberpets and "Captain Underpants" books. The 44 different Webkinz stuffed toys reflect characters in an online game of the same name. Colchester school administrators say several students have tried to play the game on school computers during indoor recess.

Each Webkinz toy comes with a code that allows the owner access to the Webkinz site, where the following bad thing happens, according to WBZTV: On the site, children can "adopt" a Webkinz after receiving it, decorate a virtual room, care for it like a real pet and participate in games and other activities. Owners use "Kinzcash" to buy items for the cyberpets.

This could become an epidemic control issue for the kiddie commandants. More from our trusted source: Griswold Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Osga said she was not aware of a similar ban at Griswold Elementary School, but was not surprised by the Jack Jackter prohibition. "Having been an elementary school principal and teacher, I know if one student brings them to school, they all do," she said. Tom Murphy, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said he was not aware of any other schools that have banned Webkinz, but he said he would not be surprised if there were more.

I grew up in Danbury, Connecticut, where the race riots of the 1970s made a big dent on everyone's psyche for years and years and years. Imagine if those kids were throwing teddy bears instead of punches--and each other?

See Tigger in the House of D for more over-the-top educator antics.
Click here for a little tour of the Webkinz site with Adella


  1. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Leave it to adults to spoil the fun for kids. We over-regulate everything. It's a good thing we don't have more important, critical things to worry about, like health care, Iraq, global warming, etc.

  2. The "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case at the US Supreme Court is another aspect of this teacher-as-Obergruppenfuhrer.

    I wish they'd worry as much about the low quality of the teaching.

    I have not been able to hire a recent college grad in 12 years who could compose a reasonable paragraph. Or, actually, understand one.

  3. Was the Griswold Elementary School named to honor the Griswolds, of Wally World fame?

  4. Welcome to the ByB family!

    Have added you to the blog roll!

    Lokking forward to read many byb posts on your post.

  5. Greg,

    A bunch of Wallys there be at Griswold.

    Iwill add obergruppenfuhrer to my extra-credit personal vocabulary list for the day.

    Some of the Webkinz games are really just a souped-up version of some of my daughter's recent math homework exercises. How great would life be if we took things in rather than on.

    Many of my college students are quasi-illiterate, so I know what you're talking about. They are also deeply offended if I dare to notice. Scary.

    Personally, I'd like the duck for Easter so I can play with Adella online!

  6. Anonymous2:12 AM

    At our elementary school, all non-school material toys (things like pencil bobbles are okay) are banned except on specified days when the kids are invited to bring something in. An excellent practice, as far as I can see, as getting my son not to chat with his neighbors during class is difficult enough; trying to keep his attention when he has a toy in easy reach would be more than I'd expect from a teacher. I approve of not letting the kids have their personal toys on the playground either, as theft and vandalism are rampant in other schools where this is not enforced. Have you ever watched some kid gut and behead a doll and tell it's owner their doll is dead? I have. Strangely enough, the problems largely seem to be instigated by kids whose families can't afford the latest "in" thing.
    As for the internet aspect, Webkinz' reliance on IE's JVM opens a security hole that would be difficult for the non-technically savvy staff to manage. I don't mind the kids playing Webkinz at recess, but I know firsthand that many of the kids that play on that site are easy pickings for phishing scams, zombie infections, and social engineering attacks that could compromise the school network. Being as how I pay for that network, I'd kinda like to not have it go down.

  7. I have sent your concerns to Ganz this morning (May 8, 2007) and asked for a reply that I can post here.

    The mentality that runs through school systems amazes me. What happened to common sense and simple communication? This is not a perfect world, and we can't have a rule, a law, or an outright ban on everything we, our kids, or our teachers can't handle.


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