Even Better Than the Real Thing?

| Total Words: 434

There are a preponderance of households all round the world that share their space, their food and their love with some kind of furry friend. Animal companions have been shown time again, in study after study, to reduce stress and cultivate health. The act of stroking a pet is an intrinsically restful one, and cannot even be outweighed by the time and expense incurred in looking after the little beasts. These critters become a part of our lives, and we dote on them like small children. But we wouldnt feel the same way about them if they were only virtual would we?

But it seems that we would. While children traditionally beg their parents for a pet to play with, these days it seems they are asking for something else too a computer, complete with Internet access, to allow them play with a pet of a slightly different shade. A Neopet.

And with 25 million members spread all across the world, the people that bring us Neopets are clearly on to something. Combining aspects of the real life world and the virtual one, the Neopets universe seems to have tapped into something. While users fall predominantly into the age group we would expect, typically sitting in the...

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