Social Media Changes Our Perception Of Animals

Several studies suggest that social networks can modulate our perception of the animal world.
Social media changes our perception of animals

Without a doubt, we are living on a globalized planet and in continuous communication. The internet allows users to share, gain knowledge and even earn a living. We live in the information age,  but do you know how animals and social media interact?

Despite the multiple benefits that online media reports on the general population, we must keep in mind certain considerations when exposing our pets to this world or when seeking reliable information about the animal kingdom.

About the internet and its expansion

It’s no secret that social media is at its peak. However, let’s expose some data to put its real importance in perspective:

  • In 2019, it was estimated that 4.54 billion people would have access to the internet,  that is, 59% of the world’s population.
  • The Instagram  has 1 billion active users currently.
  • The Facebook  platform  registered a total of 2.32 billion users worldwide.

As we can see, we are facing astronomical numbers. Several studies show how this activity is reflected in the world of animal care.

For example, the search percentage of 80% of the terms analyzed related to animal care ( pet shop , dogs, dog food, for example) has increased considerably in the last four years. Out of curiosity, pet shop ” is the most searched of all terms analyzed.

On the other hand, the presence of pages related to animals on social networks is also on the rise. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 active links to certain portals related to the world of pets.

All these data seek to highlight  the importance of pets in the information age. In addition to being present in adorable ​​photos and videos, their tutors melhoraralso seek information to improve the animals’ lives continuously.

Social media changes our perception of animals

Animals and social networks: lights and shadows

According to several scientific studies,  social networks can alter our perception of the animal world. This statement depends a lot on the context and population stratum analyzed.

For example, when presenting two stories about primates to different participants (one in favor of keeping monkeys in captivity and one against), the results were very different. It should be noted that the image accompanying the article was the same in both cases:

  • Participants exposed to negative news attributed higher levels of stress to the animal in the image.
  • The negative news promoted a discussion in the comment box,  where “echo chambers” were produced in which almost all members had a similar opinion.
  • The news that showed positivity towards keeping monkeys as pets caused more fear among readers.
  • In general, it was observed that participants were less categorical about what animal welfare referred to on social media than on other non-social media.

    Thus, it appears that the response of Internet users to the same image depends largely on the context offered. This can somehow soften or increase the level of awareness and critical thinking about the animal world.

    social networks and education

    In addition to these results,  other studies also studied the impact of the presence of animals on social networks and educational media on children.

    The existence of drawings, imitations and interpretations of different living beings  was considered negative for the children’s awareness of  nature and ecosystems. That’s because children would associate nature with a distorted view, but nothing could be further from the truth.

    These studies have shown, for example, that the presence of anthropomorphic animal figures (interpreted from the human point of view) in educational materials does not in any way affect children’s level of understanding of living beings.

    Children who were exposed to information about the natural world came out with more knowledge, regardless of the anthropomorphic figures, drawings, and the material that accompanied the exposed information content. As long as the information is reliable, knowledge is guaranteed.

    Social media changes our perception of animals

    matter of nuances

    As we can see, the interaction between animals and social networks in human culture is, to say the least, complex. For example, children do not seem to be affected by the presence of informational material transformed from a fully human point of view.

    On the other hand, studies suggest that, depending on the source and information, we can attribute different characteristics to the same animal images,  modulating the level of debate according to the portal we are on.

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