Thursday, 21 July 2011

“Man’s best friend” no longer his dog but his PC, poll reveals

The personal computer has overtaken the family dog as ‘man’s best friend’, according to an online poll conducted by YouGov for Computeractive magazine and the RSPCA.

Barely one in 20 of us (6%) believe “most people rely more on their dog than they do on their PC”. Over two-thirds (67%) of us reckon the opposite is true, according to the poll of over 2,000 British adults. (EDITOR: Surely this depends on what you rely on your dog or computer for? You would rely on your PC to connect to the Internet, but you would not rely on your computer to be -for example- a walking companion)

Even most dog-owners polled confessed to relying more on their PC than on their dog (38% vs 36%), while younger dog-owners did so most of all. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of 18-24 year-old dog-owners said that they relied more on their PC than on their dog.

Male dog-owners rely far more on their PCs than do female ones, reveals the poll, commissioned by Computeractive on behalf of the RSPCA’s Justice for Animals Appeal. Male dog-owners (48%) are almost twice as likely as female ones (28%) to rely more on their PCs than their pooches.

Almost two-thirds (61%) of those polled also felt that a PC is now “a more constant companion than a dog” for most people. Less than one sixth of respondents (16%) thought the opposite.

“These days you can even take your PC for a walk, provided you have a laptop or tablet”, says Paul Allen, editor of Computeractive, the UK’s best-selling computer magazine. “It’s only a matter of time until the first PC that fetches your slippers.”

The findings, adds Allen, also highlight what a major role computers now play in family life, particularly for men.

“With broadband bringing them global news and newspaper sales falling, the family dog even misses out on the pleasure of taking the paper to his owner.”

Is the family PC now a dog’s best friend?

It’s not all bad news for Rover, Mr Allen points out: “The family PC has given dog-owners access to a wealth of resources and information that can help with the long-term care that a dog needs. From finding the best vets to researching great new walks that all the family can enjoy, the Web enables the PC to become a dog’s best friend.”

RSPCA Inspector Tony Woodley adds: "The Internet is hugely important in all aspects of work the RSPCA carries out, from rehoming animals to campaigns, social media and online are fantastic ways for us to reach out to our supporters.

“One crucial way we use the Internet is to raise funds for vital things such as the Justice For Animals campaign helping us prevent the most severe acts of cruelty from happening again."

To highlight how the home computer can help the family dog reclaim his place as man’s best friend, Computeractive is donating £2.50 to the RSPCA Justice for Animals Appeal, from every new or upgraded subscription to the magazine, from now until 31st August 2011.

Computeractive is working with the RSPCA to fight for justice against animal cruelty by raising funds for five prosecution cases of animal cruelty. It is donating an initial lump-sum of £2,100 to fund the first of these and then a further £2.50 for any new or upgraded subscription taken up before 31st August 2011.

The magazine is launching the initiative with a short video that takes a quirky look at how PCs have demoted the family dog. It can be viewed at

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