In recent times, pet related injuries and mortalities have sparked heated debates about whether it is healthy for children to be around pets. In this essay I shall argue that such dangers are overemphasised and that children receive substantive psychological benefits through having pets.
To begin with, although exotic pets (e.g. snakes, spiders, apes, etc.) have been known to occasionally hurt and even kill children, such incidents are so statistically rare as to be negligible. This is because the overwhelming majority of children have non-lethal cats, dogs, fish, rodents and rabbits for pets. For example The Child Safety Institute found that over 90% of children owned the aforementioned pets, and professed that they had never felt in the least bit endangered by them. Seen in this light, it is clearly unfounded to claim that pets present any physical danger to children.
Secondly, pets can impact positively upon child psychology. This is because young pet owners frequently empathise with their pets and perform a diverse range of actions to maintain their well being (e.g. feeding, grooming, administering medicine, etc). For example, the Cambridge Developmental Psychology Unit found that children who had grown up with pets were 30% less likely to bully others and resolve conflicts through aggression. Consequently, it is undeniable that a child’s pro-sociality and mental health can be improved through exposure to pets.
In conclusion, the cited evidence provides strong support for the view that children owning pets is a good thing. In the future, as more laws are introduced to ban the ownership of illegally acquired exotic pets, this viewpoint will no doubt surge in popularity.
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