See Kimberley’s response:
Issues regarding children and technology have been brought back into the media spotlight. Whilst the ‘child friendly’ gadgets are increasingly being depended upon, the implications of technology have raised concerns for the health and wellbeing of young children. Parallel to this, Janie Smith’s opinion piece, ‘A form of child abuse?’ explores the detrimental consequences of replacing ‘social play’ with ‘tech gadgets’ and the importance of effective parenting. As Smith adopts the sentiment that these gadgets ‘steal childhood’ and ‘kill creativity,’ the negative portrayal of ‘convenient baby-sitting tools’ targets parents to re consider the consequences of their actions. Subsequently, the solicitous and logical tone highlights the necessity to maintain ‘social play’ for the sake of the future generation.
The hazardous consequences of ‘convenient baby sitting tools’ are investigated to sway the audience to perceive them in a negative light. The bold headline, ‘a form of child abuse?’ immediately labels ‘child friendly gadgets’ as a hindrance to a child’s development. Moreover, the rhetorical question juxtaposes gadgets with child abuse, to highlight the similarities between the two impediments to effective parenting and childhood maturation. In addition, the author appeals to concerns by drawing attention to the ‘anti-social tendencies’ that may result from the intense use of ‘child friendly’ gadgets. The ‘compulsive’ and ‘addictive’ nature of these games strikes concerns amongst parents, whilst the author depicts the irony behind the gadgets that are allegedly ‘child friendly.’ By quoting the words ‘child friendly,’ the author incorporates a sense of sarcasm, to imply the opposite meaning. Despite its purpose to assist children’s growth, the dangers of addiction predisposes parents to comprehend the risks of being ‘deprived of their regular fix.’ Additionally, Leanne McPherson fosters the idea that children will eventually become ‘self-indulgent’ and ‘anti-social.’ As a Kerr Road Kindergarten teacher, her experiences with children adds credibility toward her proposal, thus inclines parents to adopt a similar view. In particular, the real life situation of Ben Chapman hints at the prospective consequences of indulging oneself into gadgets. By doing so, the anecdotal evidence provides a sense of relativity with other vulnerable children, whilst inflaming concerns amongst parents
In addition, the author elicits a sense of nostalgia amongst parents to emphasise the means of the changing values of society. By appealing to traditions where the older generation ‘read a book’ or ‘[talked] over the fence to the kid next-door,’ the author accentuates the evident changes in society. Consequently, parents are positioned to acknowledge the diminishing traditions and the need to meet the changes in our world. Nonetheless, Smith attempts to underpin the ubiquity of gadgets amongst children, and its influences on the changing world. Thus, by comprehending the dominating influences of technology, parents are obliged to modify their outlook on parenthood and meet the alternating trends of technology. In addition, through the contrasting ‘centre stage’ between the older and younger generation, parents are enabled to comprehend the significance of maintaining some customs from their own experiences. In order to connect with the children, it is suggested that activities such as ‘building Lego constructions’ should be sustained, to avoid losing valuable ‘social stimulation.’ Thus, by encouraging parents to reflect on their own childhood experiences, readers are urged to preserve traditional activities for the sake of their future.
Finally, Smith investigates the role of parents in maximising their children’s capacities throughout their childhood development. Due to the vulnerability of young children, there is no doubt that parents’ roles are heightened. Subsequently, Smith puts forward the proposal that ‘parents need to put on the brakes’ to stimulate a sense of burden and to position them to acknowledge the consequences of their actions. In a logical tone, by also stating that ‘600,000 computer users in the United Kingdom can be classified as ‘internet addicts,” the implementation of statistical evidence pressures parents to act immediately for the protection of their children’s future. To prevent their children from become ‘depressed if forcibly deprived of internet contact,’ Smith conveys the idea that they must alter their perception on these gadgets. Thus, by realising that ‘hands-off parenting’ has a ‘high-price tag,’ the parents’ sympathy is channeled toward the needs and wellbeing of their children. As a result of their dominating influences on their children, parents are exhorted to enhance their parenthood skills by immediately withdrawing their children from these detrimental influences.
Ultimately, Smith intricately explores the repercussions of ‘convenient baby sitting tools,’ and its influences on children’s wellbeing. Whilst striking a sense of fear and concern for the inferior children, through the author’s proposals, it is clear that parents play a vital role in the potential health and wellbeing of their children. As these gadgets are painted in an utterly negative light, its adverse qualities position parents to adopt a disapproving stance toward these tools. Thus, by drawing our attention to the welfare of children, parents, in particular are challenged to tackle the ‘child friendly gadgets’ that are currently ‘[stealing] childhood’ and ‘[killing] creativity.’
Assessor comments: Mark: 7/10
Kimberley would improve from an average mark to a high scoring mark by improving the structure of the discussion and her written expression. On the one hand, Kimberley focuses on the small details and loses sight of the big picture. On the other hand, there are several awkward phrases which hinder her ability to get above an 8/10).
- Think about the author’s dot-point plan: basically, Ms Smith outlines a problem (hands-off style of parenting). She analyses the consequences (depiction of children).
- To avoid repetition and to be more specific with the author’s intentions and views/values it would help to group together similar points.
- Firstly clearly identify the (source) of the problem: the author’s most important strategy is to discredit/attack parents and children’s reliance on gadgets.
- Group together the comments about parents: analyse the portrayal as accurately as possible. (Use adjectives wisely.)
- Explain how and why the author attack parents: the author believes parents “simplistically” rely on gadgets; they are naïvely fostering children’s dependence; she uses both shaming and fear tactics. For example, she believes that parents should be ashamed of their indifference/laziness, but also they should fear for their children’s future and their lack of social skills;
- Style; use of inclusive language and rhetorical questions to suggest that such attitudes are widespread among parents; she shames parents’ priorities; parents are depicted as self-centred.
- Values: social/family values; parents are neglecting family values; comparative historical references: past and present parenting styles.
- Secondly, explain how the author depicts the children and why. Group together relevant points and analyse more thoroughly. The author uses professional experience/observations: kindergarten teacher (eg Ben Chapman) and psychologist (Dr Sitwell); the experts’ analysis of children is likely to alarm parents; specifically, the children lack critical social skills; they have a tendency to be anti-social and isolated.
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