New Games and Toys Lead Kids Online

New Games and Toys Lead Kids Online
By: Crystal Britt
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Some Heartland kids are still on break, likely home playing with Christmas gifts.  Guess where many are actually playing with those presents?  They're online.
More and more toys have an online tie in.  Many toy manufacturers, like Mattel, are routinely including online components.  With more kids looking for online playgrounds, there's a growing concern for parents on how to protect their kids from adult content and invasion of privacy.
Will they replace Legos and Tinker Toys?  Probably not, but Webkinz and Bratz Girls are definitely some new favorites.  More kids are heading to the Internet.
Dora Hastings says her daughter's pretty computer savvy.  

"She's probably been online playing educational games since she was about two and a half," said Hastings.   She says her daughter is six now. "We haven't done the Webkinz and the Bratz games because I just don't think she's old enough yet."

Books still draw kids to the Cape Girardeau Public Library, but many are eager to find an open computer.
"A lot of the kids that are here after school hustle to get their homework done so they can get online and play games at some of the sites," said Sharon Anderson. 
At the library they have filters and adult supervision.  The Youth Services Coordinator says parents should do the same.
"We hear the scary stories, but if you get down with your child together, say show me what you're doing.  Do you log on here?  What are you playing?  Who are your friends?" said Anderson. 
Some of the new toys have filters and strict rules, but some parents say they're not taking chances.  So when Dora Hastings' daughter is ready for the new games and gadgets she says, "I don't think I would leave the room for any period of time.  It's a big danger.  They don't realize, there's the mentality, it's not going to happen to me."