Sunday, November 25, 2007


Who knew this exists? I learned from my 5-year-old grandson. You buy a webkins. You get a “code.” And voila, you have gain entrance to a secret, magical world.

My grandson, Jacob, is particularly keen 0n “going for” ALL of the beach accouterments. You can get a “job” to earn dollars for purchasing your dreams. Or you can go the arcade and gamble for webkins dollars (it takes, for example, $750 webkins to get a set of surfboards for the beach theme room Jacob has named “Ocean Waves"). Jacob tried to teach me the Dicekins game (but I just didn’t get it). His parents secretly gamble for dollars for their son. And Jacob is keen on getting yet another webkins (which comes with some $2000 webkins for wheeling and dealing in the webkins world). For that, he mopped the kitchen floor for a dollar. And has plans to rake leaves and wash window. All in search of yet another webkins (which costs $15 in the real world; Jacob has now saved $7 towards his next webkins).

What do I think about this?
• Jacob mopping the floor. Pretty thorough and impressive for a five year old. Clean floor. Cheerful worker. Goal oriented. Good? Bad?
• Jacob using the computer mouse. Pretty impressive small motor skills. Menus. Game moves. Better than me--though how easy is that?
• Jacob’s goal oriented behavior. With webkins world, he learns that things cost, you can’t get around that, you have to earn the money. If you make bad choices, you deal. (He is selling back earlier purchases, shifting around what he did a few weeks back and now seems to regret.)
• Parents. I saw both dad and mom playing the webkins games to earn Jacob dollars. Now those games aren’t easy. I certainly couldn’t have earned him any money even though he tutored me in dicekins (or whatever). But what does this teach? Under the table? Family solidarity?
• Web world? Real world? Where does this lead? Not entirely sure. I brought computers to my kids. I live from software. My husband spends his life at the computer. Not entirely sure. . . . . .

Smart, funny, amusing kid. Where does webkins lead? Not entirely sure. This kid doesn’t watch TV. He does watch videos. (And he could perform all the songs from “High School Musical.) He’s also playing chess online. He’s also playing outside an writing his own book of "scriptures." I’m working in this world of software and online communities. Where does it lead?

Not entirely comfortable. Would oh so happily get back to books, walks, writing (though mostly on a computer). Still there is this romance of ink and paper, and I haven't entirely abandoned that mode.

I was born too early and too late. Such a life lived in between. It’s hard to know what to make of this all.

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