Dismayed by the prevalence of animal cruelty in New Zealand, SAFE has created an exciting new game on its new Animal Squad website as a tool to help teach young people compassion and empathy. The game is timely, given the spate of animal cruelty reports in the media, including school-sanctioned possum hunts. SAFE aims to break the well documented link between animal abuse committed by adolescents and children, and violent behaviour in their later life.
To get kids involved, SAFE developed a storytelling game – Animal Tales. The game is part of the Animal Tales Competition where children are encouraged to develop their own story about caring for animals. The game will be a great resource for educators to teach values through positive play.
“The need for humane education in New Zealand is huge and urgent,” says Nichola Kriek, Head of Education. “We have a terrible track record of bullying and violence in this country. Empathy and kindness need to be taught so that the next generation have the tools they need to express compassion towards all living beings.”
SAFE launches a new educational website – SafeAnimalSquad.org.nz – and game today for Kiwi kids, with the goal of teaching compassion and kindness for animals. Hundreds of Kiwi kids are already members of SAFE’s Animal Squad Youth Group and it is hoped that the new website will extend the message of kindness and compassion to reach thousands more.
Active member of SAFE Animal Squad, Holly (13) explains; “The supportive community of SAFE Animal Squad is the most educational and cool group I am in, and this website will boost us into the stratosphere!”
“The SAFE Animal Squad website is great because it has cool things like games, and lots of recipes so that people can get ideas on how to make food without meat”, says SAFE Animal Squad member, Nikolai (11).
SafeAnimalSquad.org.nz is aimed at children aged 8-14 years, as research suggests that these ages are an important time in the development of perspective taking and empathy. Empathy is linked with more prosocial behaviours and fewer negative social behaviours such as aggression. To play the game, visit SafeAnimalSquad.org.nz. More information on SAFE’s humane education programme is available at safe.org.nz.