Preventing cruelty and unsafe child-pet interactions with an educational iPad intervention

Roxanne Hawkins, Joanne Williams

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentation

Abstract

Aim
Pets have an impact on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development (theory of mind and understanding of biology), and have a role in child and adolescent mental health, well-being and quality of life. However, children lack knowledge about animal welfare needs and about appropriate and safe behaviour towards pet animals. The aim of this study was to design, develop, and conduct an evaluation of a novel educational iPad intervention for children to teach them about fundamental aspects of animal welfare including animal emotions, sentience and welfare needs.

Methods
The study is a pre-test, intervention, post-test design, including an intervention and control group. Participants included 92 test and 65 control (46% boys, 54% girls) primary-school children aged 7-11 from schools in Scotland, UK. Children were pre-tested using a short questionnaire administered in the class that included measures of compassion, attitudes to cruelty, sentience, welfare knowledge and knowledge about appropriate behaviour towards pets. Children in the intervention group then played the ‘Pet Welfare’ iPad game, which was designed to teach children about animal sentience, the five animal welfare needs, and about appropriate and safe behaviours towards pets. Children then completed the post-test questionnaire.

Results
There were significant effects of the game on: compassion towards animals (F(1,91)=5.4, p=.022, n2=.06), beliefs about animal minds (F(1,88)=61.17, p=.000, n2=.41), knowledge about appropriate behaviour towards pets (F(1,87)=106.7, p=.000, n2=.55), safe behaviour towards pets (F(1,88)=34.38, p=.000, n2=.28), attitudes towards cruelty to pets (F(1,87)=31.14, p=.000, n2=.26), and knowledge about cat welfare needs (but not dog or rabbit needs) (F(1,87)=9.53, p=.003, n2=.1).

Conclusions
This study demonstrates the positive impact of interactive digital educational interventions that enhance knowledge of animal welfare and understanding of animal behaviour and emotions. These changes are likely to be important in improving children’s behaviour towards animals and reducing cruelty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages322-322
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology - Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 29 Aug 20171 Sep 2017
https://www.ecdp2017.nl/ (Conference website.)

Conference

Conference18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology
CountryNetherlands
CityUtrecht
Period29/08/171/09/17
Internet address

Fingerprint

Pets
Animal Welfare
Emotions
Theory of Mind
Animal Behavior
Scotland
Mental Health
Cats
Quality of Life
Dogs
Rabbits
Control Groups

Keywords

  • Psychology
  • Children
  • Animals
  • Technology
  • Serious games
  • Animal welfare
  • Human-animal interactions

Cite this

Hawkins, R., & Joanne Williams (2017). Preventing cruelty and unsafe child-pet interactions with an educational iPad intervention. 322-322. 18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Utrecht, Netherlands.
Hawkins, Roxanne ; Joanne Williams. / Preventing cruelty and unsafe child-pet interactions with an educational iPad intervention. 18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Utrecht, Netherlands.1 p.
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Hawkins, R & Joanne Williams 2017, 'Preventing cruelty and unsafe child-pet interactions with an educational iPad intervention' 18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Utrecht, Netherlands, 29/08/17 - 1/09/17, pp. 322-322.

Preventing cruelty and unsafe child-pet interactions with an educational iPad intervention. / Hawkins, Roxanne; Joanne Williams.

2017. 322-322 18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentation

TY - CONF

T1 - Preventing cruelty and unsafe child-pet interactions with an educational iPad intervention

AU - Hawkins, Roxanne

AU - Joanne Williams

PY - 2017/8/29

Y1 - 2017/8/29

N2 - AimPets have an impact on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development (theory of mind and understanding of biology), and have a role in child and adolescent mental health, well-being and quality of life. However, children lack knowledge about animal welfare needs and about appropriate and safe behaviour towards pet animals. The aim of this study was to design, develop, and conduct an evaluation of a novel educational iPad intervention for children to teach them about fundamental aspects of animal welfare including animal emotions, sentience and welfare needs.MethodsThe study is a pre-test, intervention, post-test design, including an intervention and control group. Participants included 92 test and 65 control (46% boys, 54% girls) primary-school children aged 7-11 from schools in Scotland, UK. Children were pre-tested using a short questionnaire administered in the class that included measures of compassion, attitudes to cruelty, sentience, welfare knowledge and knowledge about appropriate behaviour towards pets. Children in the intervention group then played the ‘Pet Welfare’ iPad game, which was designed to teach children about animal sentience, the five animal welfare needs, and about appropriate and safe behaviours towards pets. Children then completed the post-test questionnaire.ResultsThere were significant effects of the game on: compassion towards animals (F(1,91)=5.4, p=.022, n2=.06), beliefs about animal minds (F(1,88)=61.17, p=.000, n2=.41), knowledge about appropriate behaviour towards pets (F(1,87)=106.7, p=.000, n2=.55), safe behaviour towards pets (F(1,88)=34.38, p=.000, n2=.28), attitudes towards cruelty to pets (F(1,87)=31.14, p=.000, n2=.26), and knowledge about cat welfare needs (but not dog or rabbit needs) (F(1,87)=9.53, p=.003, n2=.1).ConclusionsThis study demonstrates the positive impact of interactive digital educational interventions that enhance knowledge of animal welfare and understanding of animal behaviour and emotions. These changes are likely to be important in improving children’s behaviour towards animals and reducing cruelty.

AB - AimPets have an impact on children’s social, emotional and cognitive development (theory of mind and understanding of biology), and have a role in child and adolescent mental health, well-being and quality of life. However, children lack knowledge about animal welfare needs and about appropriate and safe behaviour towards pet animals. The aim of this study was to design, develop, and conduct an evaluation of a novel educational iPad intervention for children to teach them about fundamental aspects of animal welfare including animal emotions, sentience and welfare needs.MethodsThe study is a pre-test, intervention, post-test design, including an intervention and control group. Participants included 92 test and 65 control (46% boys, 54% girls) primary-school children aged 7-11 from schools in Scotland, UK. Children were pre-tested using a short questionnaire administered in the class that included measures of compassion, attitudes to cruelty, sentience, welfare knowledge and knowledge about appropriate behaviour towards pets. Children in the intervention group then played the ‘Pet Welfare’ iPad game, which was designed to teach children about animal sentience, the five animal welfare needs, and about appropriate and safe behaviours towards pets. Children then completed the post-test questionnaire.ResultsThere were significant effects of the game on: compassion towards animals (F(1,91)=5.4, p=.022, n2=.06), beliefs about animal minds (F(1,88)=61.17, p=.000, n2=.41), knowledge about appropriate behaviour towards pets (F(1,87)=106.7, p=.000, n2=.55), safe behaviour towards pets (F(1,88)=34.38, p=.000, n2=.28), attitudes towards cruelty to pets (F(1,87)=31.14, p=.000, n2=.26), and knowledge about cat welfare needs (but not dog or rabbit needs) (F(1,87)=9.53, p=.003, n2=.1).ConclusionsThis study demonstrates the positive impact of interactive digital educational interventions that enhance knowledge of animal welfare and understanding of animal behaviour and emotions. These changes are likely to be important in improving children’s behaviour towards animals and reducing cruelty.

KW - Psychology

KW - Children

KW - Animals

KW - Technology

KW - Serious games

KW - Animal welfare

KW - Human-animal interactions

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UR - https://www.ecdp2017.nl/

M3 - Presentation

SP - 322

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ER -

Hawkins R, Joanne Williams. Preventing cruelty and unsafe child-pet interactions with an educational iPad intervention. 2017. 18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Utrecht, Netherlands.