Animal welfare education aims to nurture compassion, respect and kindness to animals but there remains a need for more rigorous evaluations of such programmes to assess the most effective approaches. Incorporating technology into animal welfare education is a relatively novel field. This study examines the process of designing, developing, and evaluating the effectiveness of a new theoretically-driven educational computer game intervention. Pet Welfare was designed for children aged 7-12 years, to promote positive child-animal interactions. A pre-test, post-test, test-control, quasi-experimental design was used using a self-report questionnaire that children completed within class. Participants included 184 primary-school children from schools in Scotland, UK. The results indicated a positive impact on knowledge about animal welfare needs, knowledge about appropriate and safe behaviour towards pets and beliefs about pet minds. Children were also less accepting of cruelty to pets. . There was no impact on self-reported compassion. This study presents the first evaluation of a digital animal welfare ‘serious game’ for children, demonstrating the benefits of incorporating technology and game-based learning into animal cruelty prevention. The results of this study will inform future education directions for those wishing to promote positive and safe relationships between children and animals.
|Journal||Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin|
|Early online date||20 Aug 2019|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2019|
- Animal cruelty
- Animal welfare
- Serious games