Exercise 24: Don’t hold our hands! Mr Roger Tindall, p. 66
Point of view/key idea:
Mr Tindall condemns the government’s proposal to implement an E-commissioner for children.
(decries, opposes, rejects, lambasts, criticises)
Author’s perspective: Drawing upon his parental experience the author condemns the government’s introduction of the Safety E-Commissioner.
This is a problem–solution style of argument. What is the problem?
(Facebook and children’s exposure to possibly damaging material)
Beginning with the problematic nature of Facebook, Mr Tindall agrees that there is a potential cyber security problem. He uses statistics to suggest that if 90 per cent of students have a Facebook account then there is an increased risk of cyber-bullying and exposure to inappropriate content.
Problem : why? Purpose?
The identification of this problem (possible exposure to harm) is likely to unsettle many parents; increase their anxiety about children’s safety.
What is the solution? Mr Tindall believes that extra governmental surveillance measures are not the solution.
Rather Mr Tindall recommends improved parental vigilance (care) (that parents become more vigilant).
Appeals: The author appeals to parental duty of care issues (as well as family values) to suggest that it is preferable for parents to control and monitor their children’s online activities.
(Underpinning the author’s proposed solution are appeals to duty of care and family values.)
The author seeks to reassure its parental audience, by suggesting that the parents should take control of their children’s online activities.
Attacking tactics: Mr Tindall uses words with negative/alarming/pejorative/belittling/derogatory connotations to show the effects of the government’s intrusive regulations:
“red tape”; “nanny state rules”; religious busy-body” ; “grey suited bureaucrat”. Government officials are depicted as paternalistic and intrusive: “goes against our freedom”.
Sample quotes/word-level analysis and purpose:
- The idiomatic reference to an increase in “red tape” because of such “nanny state rules” is designed to alarm all those who would be concerned about more regulations.
- The fearful /critical reference to the “grey suited bureaucrat” is likely to unsettle those members of the public who are reluctant to support greater governmental controls.
- The reassuring reference to the author’s desire to “be the one holding my child’s hand” is designed to encourage all members of the public to resist the government’s proposal.
Compare the following response (with Julia’s) which starts with a focus on a common thread: intrusive nature of government rules versus civil liberties.
Scornfully and at times sarcastically, Mr Sattler draws upon his own parental experience to discredit what he sees as the Government’s intrusive proposals. The use of pejorative terms such as “e-Tzar commissioner”, “red tape” and “nanny state” taps into parents’ fears about excessive government control. Such terms would resonate with those members of the community who, like this author, prioritise freedom and civil liberties. Furthermore, the fact that such policies contradict the government’s “freedom agenda” imply that it is hypocritical. To isolate the government and further reinforce the intrusive nature of the Commissioner, the author conjures up an image of “religious busy body” figures and grey-suited bureaucrats. These terms consistently highlight the side-effects of a government intent on “stalking” online users, and encourage concerned parents to exercise their moral obligations towards their children.
See Exercise 24, Don’t Hold our Hands, Arguments and Persuasive Language
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