There is probably not a single child who does not enjoy having some kind of a pet. It does not have to be a dog or a cat. Some kids will appreciate having a snake, others having a pet tarantula. However, not everyone’s situation allows for a physical pet. Some people live in apartments which are too small or just inconvenient for animals. Others may not have enough money to support one. Whatever the reason, more and more people are downloading virtual pets for their children, which can really come in handy in many ways.

Since the invention of the Tamagotchi virtual pets, there has been a debate among parents whether having a virtual pet is more beneficial for a child than having a real one. The differences in reasoning have been great, indeed, but the debate basically hasn’t been solved until this day (especially given the fact that the world of virtual pets has evolved significantly). This article presents some arguments in favor of both so that you can be the judge and decide for yourself whether you need a real or a virtual pet for the time being.

Adopting a Real Pet

In addition to being cute and adorable most of the time, adopting a real pet can significantly improve your life.

First of all, you will never be alone. If you are at home, a pet will probably be with you at all times or it will just want to play and goof around with you, especially if it is a dog. This helps alleviate depression and loneliness in people, but also provides a sense of companionship that every human being needs.

Secondly, having a pet can lead to some serious physical exercise. Again, this predominantly goes for dogs but, in some cases, having a cat or even a rabbit will get you physically active. The idea is that you will have to spend time walking your pet on a daily basis, thus fulfilling your daily exercising needs along the way (for example, if you have to walk 10.000 steps each day, taking a dog for a walk will help you reach that goal with ease).

Finally, real pets are plain cute and immensely interesting as they are a source of never-ending fun. They are not programmed and, while they can be trained, there is always the factor of randomness that is derived from the fact that they are living beings.

Adopting a Virtual Pet

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As interesting as real pets are, there are also reasons why you should rather go for a virtual pet.

To begin with, virtual pets take up no physical space. For people living in small apartments, this is invaluable. Children get to have a pet and parents don’t need to worry where they will keep a fuzzy ball of fur.

Speaking of fur, virtual pets don’t leave any mess around as they don’t have fur, hairballs, don’t use the potty and you don’t need to clean after them. They are still programmed to do so, but it’s not the physical world so it absolutely does not affect the rest of the people in the house.

Having a virtual pet can also teach your children responsibility just like a real pet can. Children will have to take care of it, feed it, bathe it, etc. However, these chores aren’t as frequent as with a real pet, which can be beneficial as it offers children a smooth transition from carefree to a more responsible lifestyle.

After all, once they have practiced enough on a virtual pet and have grown enough to accept the responsibility, you can adopt a real pet for them. By this time, they will already have the necessary experience.
All in all, both virtual and real pets have their benefits; yet, virtual pets can be more practical. If your kids want a fun playmate, they can always download an app or a program that will give them one. Though real pets are lots of fun, it takes much more devotion and time to take care of them, which is not the case with the virtual ones. Nevertheless, if you are in position to get your child a real pet at one point in his or her life, do so – a furry or a feathery friend is always much appreciated.