In the UK, the RSPCA have revealed that a fifth of school children aged between 10 and 18 in the Northwest have witnessed animal cruelty and neglect on social media.
The point being made is that before the existence of online social media children in this age bracket were not exposed to animal abuse and cruelty to this extent. Children in this age bracket being exposed to much higher levels of animal abuse them before may become desensitised to it.
Education on animal abuse vital
If they are desensitised to it they need to receive an education about animal abuse in order to ensure that they do not learn that it is acceptable.
On a personal level I have noticed that Facebook is reluctant to remove images and videos of animal abuse. Facebook has a history of unreasonably failing to respond to genuine requests to take down images of animal abuse. Perhaps Facebook is changing its ways and becoming more responsive to reports of inappropriate images on their website but I am not sure.
Shocking number of children see animal abuse online
The chief executive, Chris Sherwood, of the RSPCA said:
“The number of children seeing animal abuse online is shocking – the current generation of children are witnessing horrifying animal cruelty and neglect through channels which simply didn’t exist for previous generations.”
There is no doubt in my mind that Chris is correct. The RSPCA organised a poll of residents in the northwest of England on the subject of animal welfare being taught in schools. It revealed that 75% of people say that animal welfare should be taught in schools.
5,000 incidents annually
The animal charity report that it sees almost 5,000 cases of animal neglect and cruelty on social media annually. In Greater Manchester alone 755 incidents of animal cruelty on social media have been reported since 2016.
I am sure that with the advent of social media there is a more pressing need to educate young people on animal abuse to prevent them accepting it. The RSPCA have started a program for children called ‘Generation Kind’.
P.S. I have not included pictures of animal abuse as they are too distressing. Also Google Adsense don’t like it. I’d have to remove the adverts from the page.