Hannah Auger’s article, “The IOT for Kids: How Technology Affects Our Children,” explores some specific pros and cons of our increasingly technological world. She explains that what it really comes down to is parenting, not the technology itself, which I think is a very valid claim. The pros she discusses are its uses for educating children and keeping watch over them and her cons are that it enables helicopter parents to go to extremes and that it makes children less able to interpret emotion. She uses specific products and studies to support her claims.
I think it’s interesting that Auger puts so much responsibility on the parents. A lot of the arguments I hear are entirely attacking the children and their laziness, but Auger brings attention to the fact that parenting plays a heavy role in how children interact with their technology.
I think this could be an interesting topic to explore but I also fear that I won’t be able to find very many valid arguments because I feel like a lot of the arguments in this topic revolve heavily around emotions and that people are unlikely to change their stance. I think that technology shouldn’t be demonized as heavily as it sometimes is and I hope to be able to find more articles agreeing with me (and using valid claims to back this up).
My article, “Machias to consider removing fluoride from water,” is about a municipality in Maine that is soon going to vote on whether or not to continue fluoridating water. The vast majority of the state (and the country, as far as I know) fluoridates their water and, as the author says, is supported by credible organizations such as the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization. The only reason this is being put to a vote now is because there is a vocal minority that thinks that fluoridation is incredibly bad for you.
The audience for this article is likely intended to be Maine voters because that’s who the issue affects. The author provides the facts of the situation and sort of allows the reader to take their own stance based on the information at hand and doesn’t have much credibility besides being a reporter on the topic (which is probably about as much credibility I will have when I write my PRE). However, all the facts provided seem to indicate that fluoride is beneficial and that the people who disagree are crazy and just looking for something to get mad about. I’ll have to do more research into the actual effects of fluoride in order to see who’s more accurate, but my current stance is that fluoridation is beneficial. I also think this because my mother works in a dental office and that’s her stance, so perhaps I could use that connection to give myself more credibility.
Dr. David Katz (who provides ethos with his expertise as a medical doctor) discusses the movement of fat acceptance in his article “Why I Can’t Quite Be Okay With ‘Okay at Any Size‘”. His audience appears to be people who support the “healthy at any size” movement. He talks about how adamantly he approves of the sentiment that people should not be demonized for being fat, but goes on to say that when someone’s weight is harmful to their health, they should not be encouraged to stay the same or even get worse. He uses lots of stats and hard facts to describe the increasingly unhealthy situation people are facing, referencing increased occurrences of diabetes and strokes. He uses hypotheticals too; he says that if we stay on the path we are currently, children are going to be facing health risks at even younger ages.
I think Katz’s argument is very effective. He knows his audience. By commenting that be believes weight does not equate worth, he is acknowledging his audience’s most fundamental belief. However, his facts about health give his audience a look into the valid downsides of “healthy at any size.” I agree with the author and want to further explore the effects of various media on body image and health.
Kylie Cheung’s article “Free the Nipple Has Become A Divisive Political Issue in Springfield, MO” gives some background on the Free the Nipple movement and what’s going on in Springfield. The author is a feminist from the Bay Area and holds rather liberal views; she is clearly in favor of the Free the Nipple movement. It would appear that her audience is conservative people who may not realize how sexist it is to criminalize women’s breasts. She wants them to realize the double-standard and support the movement both socially and politically. She uses facts and quotes to describe the situation in Springfield and adds commentary to guide the reader to her conclusions regarding the nature of the events.
I think she presents her information rather well, however, she might not have considered her audience quite enough. I think conservative people would be much more hesitant to accept her argument and, in turn, would need a more carefully worded approach in order to prevent them from shutting out her ideas. For example, she seems to assume the reader will be on her side when she displays the opposing side, when in reality her audience might see that “opposing side” and agree with it, therefore dismissing her argument. She could fix this by elaborating on her counter-argument.
I agree with the author. I think that the idea that women’s breasts are inherently sexual is asinine. However, I understand that it’s a cultural thing and that it won’t be easy to change the way people think in America. I think it would be interesting to explore more people’s opinions, especially people from places like Europe, where women’s toplessness is not quite so shocking.
The article I found was an opinion post on The Guardian by a man who appears to be a huge advocate for the idea that modern technology is ruining children’s brains. Aric Sigman’s article “What children need is censorship” talks about what it is that children need to be protected from online and why censorship is the answer. His audience is clearly for the adults of these children; he talks about protecting the children in the third person and describes their generation as “entitled,” something he wouldn’t say if he was trying to win their favor.
Since his post is in no way scientific, his evidence includes rather vague statements that would make parents who already agree with him nod their heads enthusiastically. He says that seeing heavily photoshopped people online damages children’s self-image and that their investment in an internet world negatively affects their ability to have “real” socialization. While these points do carry validity, he has no real source and depends on the audience’s ability to connect this “evidence” to what they already know and have decided, which makes his argument weak. However, since his audience seems to be people who already agree with him, a strong argument doesn’t seem to be one of his priorities.
I also think that including some counter-points is an important part of creating a strong argument and Sigman does not mention anything that may break his fragile argument. He seems rather closed-minded and has taken things he has seen (children socializing in person less often) and dumbed it down to something that is not even accurate to the experiences of the youth (a form of socialization that is inherently bad). This makes me distrust any argument that he has. I’m somewhat on the fence on this issue and can be convinced that censorship is necessary and good, but currently I am leaning towards the idea that censorship is not the answer to the problems people like Sigman think we have.
I also think that Sigman doesn’t even cover the real issue of censorship. The things he says we should protect children from seem rather insignificant. I would like to see other people’s ideas of what should be censored and why they think censorship is the answer rather than attacking the source. I think that, in general, simply attempting to hide issues and make them taboo to talk about is not a good way to protect anyone from the issues that are still undeniably there.