Virtual Pets Leading to Real Lessons
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Taking care of virtual pets is like the training wheels for real pets. It can be rewarding and fun, but on top of that, it can teach you and prepare you for the real thing.
Virtual pets are exactly what they sound like; they are artificial pets that you can own. Like real pets, you must care for them and teach them. Just don’t expect them to fetch your favorite pair of slippers for you that’s setting the bar a little too high. Depending on how well you take care of them, they can either flourish, or they can wilt and eventually perish. Because of these basic similarities, owning a virtual pet can teach you a lot about raising an actual pet.
One of the important things you can learn from raising a virtual pet is responsibility. Like real pets, virtual pets need to be fed, nourished, and doted on. These things must be provided in appropriate levels, at regular intervals, and at the appropriate time. Feeding a pet when you are free just will not cut it so if you go on vacation for ten days without leaving your pet any food, expect to find it emaciated or pushing daises when you get back. Also, you must pay attention to how much you feed your virtual pet. The more sophisticated virtual pets will also require a certain type of food as well, just like real pets. So this will teach you not to feed your real pet a sloppy joe just because you couldn’t finish it.
Another thing that virtual pets can teach you about real pets is how to train for certain types of behaviours. Positive reinforcement is just as effective for real pets as it is for virtual ones. Giving a pet a treat when they do something right is great. Petting them and showing affection when they do something good is also a great. Giving them a biscuit when they bite your best friend: not so great. Training virtual pets will show you that it takes consistency to turn a habit into a behaviour. This will be invaluable when you want to reinforce positive behaviours in real pets.
The last thing a virtual pet can teach you about owning a real pet is a little bit more somber. Virtual pets, like real life pets, can die. When you have only raised a virtual pet for a few days, it not a big deal, but when you have cared for it for months, the sting can be real. Losing a real pet is the same, if not more profound. Dealing with the loss of a virtual pet can prepare you for the eventual loss of a real-life, beloved pet. It’s not exactly the same, but the sadness is real. No one wants to learn this lesson, but it is an important one to learn, and experiencing a “virtual” loss can help you with those difficult emotions.
Raising virtual pets can be a genuinely rewarding experience that can teach you many things. If you aren’t sure whether you are ready for a real pet, I recommend that you see how well you do with a virtual pet. If things go well, you may just be ready for the genuine thing.
The author is a student who pursues journalism at his local college. In doing so, he enjoys reading and writing articles about game currencies, pet care, auto-mobile assemblage and lots more.