Whether on YouTube, television or Instagram, video content featuring pets and animals continues to keep kids and parents laughing and learning, according to a new study by Turner-owned kidsnet Boomerang EMEA.
Conducted across France, the UK, Italy, Sweden, South Africa and Turkey, the study found that nearly half of parents (48%) let their children watch animal-based TV shows and videos because critters, creatures and furry friends make their kids laugh and smile.
In addition, 59% of parents let their kids watch content featuring animals because it educates them about nature, 41% because it informs about emotions and 21% because it tends to be about safer topics. The study also found that 82% of parents and kids take photos or videos of their pets at least once a week, reinforcing the massive popularity of animal videos online and across social media platforms.
Looking at the role of animals off-screen, 62% of kids and parents surveyed said they laugh at least once a day based on something their pet does, whether its kissing, licking, chasing someone or something, hiding and jumping out on someone, and human-like behavior.
A third of parents also reported that their pet helped strengthen the family bond, and 31% said their pet reduced stress, while a quarter cited that their pet helped family members become more caring and considerate. (This falls in line with recent findings from US-based research firm Smarty Pants. which looked at how pets play critical roles in the children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.)
Not surprisingly, dogs and cats were found to be kids’ preferred animals when given the choice to have any pet. Horses made the top three in four of the six regions (France, Italy, South Africa, UK), while kids in Turkey wouldn’t say no to a bird and Swedish kids liked the idea of a pet giraffe.
Across all six countries, dogs, cats and fish were found to be the most common family pets, and 27% of kids and parents chose to name their pets after a cartoon or film character. The study also revealed that the top five favorite animal characters of all time are some of the most iconic—Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, Garfield, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Bugs Bunny.