The RSPCA says it wants animal welfare taught in schools, as figures suggest that a fifth of children in the North West have seen animal abuse online.
The charity says it sees more than 700 online incidents of cruelty and neglect in the North West region reported to it each year.
These include almost 100 incidents in Cheshire in 2017.
The research was carried out by Beautiful Insights in February 2018, with incidents viewed via social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube being reported to the RSPCA.
The charity said: “Young children are being exposed to horrific incidents of animal suffering online in ways previous generations have simply not experienced.”
In response, the RSPCA is launching ‘Generation Kind’ – its biggest ever education and prevention programme aimed at children.
It has also launched a petition calling for animal welfare to be taught in all schools.
RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “The risk for children growing up in the 21st century is that frequent and casual exposure to animal abuse will desensitise them and may even make it seem acceptable.
“Animals need us now more than ever and we want to grow a new generation of young people who care, who are informed and who want to do their best for animals.”
Chris added: “Central to this is a new campaign to get animal welfare taught in all schools.”
The charity believes that teaching animal welfare would ensure children develop key life skills – for instance, compassion and empathy – as well as respect for animals and a basic understanding of how to care for them.
The RSPCA also believes animal welfare could make a significant contribution to young people’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, which all schools must promote.