In the news article “Technological trauma: cyber bullies more powerful than schoolyard thugs” (the Age 28/10/2006), Larissa Dubecki assertsin a reasoned and logical tone that cyber bullying should not be permitted or tolerated because it is extremely harmful to young people. The writer appeals to the wellbeing of teenagers through establishing the threats and negative impact of cyber bullying that can be physically and mentally harmful.
The writer appeals to the reader’s sense of safety and wellbeing by exposing the potential danger and problems associated with unrestrained. The consequences of cyber bullying could range from “acute anxiety” to “self- harm” or even to “suicides”. LOADED language? Negative connotations? Appeal to fear? Substantiating the point with many statistics and references to authority figuresis designed to enrich the author’s credibility by relating it to the reader’s own community so that they may become more aware of the issue.
Example? This is an emotional and reasoned appeal as the data results and findings prove that the writer’s perspective is not made up of hollow evidence but evidence backed up by research. Thus the reader is positioned to view the writer’s argument as more convincing because it appears to be objective and reliable. Furthermore, these statistics, coupled with reminders of past events in which victims have experienced negative emotions such as “acute anxiety, depression, truancy, self-harm and…suicides” enhances the legitimacy to the writer’s position that cyber bullying is a serious issue.
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Hence, the reader is inclined to agree with the writer that immediate action is required against cyber bullying because anyone who disagrees would be regarded as lacking practical intelligence since they cannot see what is self-clearly evident. The contrast between the writer’s seemingly morally upright and responsible view and the unacceptable behaviours on the offenders’ side further belittles the “perpetrators”. The writer’s appeal to sense of justice triggers emotions of sympathy for the victims from the reader as the reader is inclined to feel an overwhelming unfairness at the fact that offenders are able to get away “unpunished”.
Sites where people are able to “vote for the ugliest, fattest and most hated person in school” are exposed by the writer as dangerous, inappropriate and hurtful. Appeal to sympathy? Shock? Negative connotations? Loaded language? The reader is led to feel a connection between themselves and those oppressed because these negative traits are relevant to the reader’s own life how do you know this? Assumption here and thus, the reader is persuaded to side with the writer’s view that hurtful insults at people’s image should stop.
In addition to this, the perpetrators are exposed as people who “aim to humiliate…hack into accounts and …sometimes locking the victims out of their own account”. The negativeassociations linked with “bullies” are designed to further attack the offenders as viscous and inhumane. Thus, the writer arouses feelings of anger from the reader and they are positioned to agree that bullies should be “caught and dealt with”. The writer contends that offenders and bullies are not the only ones to be blamed because parents and the general community are responsible to the ways in which children are educated.
The frightening image of a “faceless” and “anonymous” are threats characterised as unknowns and in close proximity to children whichprovokes parents to feel worried and fearful, but practical steps and solutions are offered and the reader is inclined to turn to them for relief. The writer’s point is clear: parents and the community must act. “Let’s look at families and communities-where are the kids picking up these despicable habits? ” Appeal to family values and responsibility as citizens is strengthened by rhetorical questioning that addresses the reader as a way of engaging their agreement.
The answer is self-evident irrefutable and therefore, the reader must agree with the writer that parents and communities should “to do something about [cyber bullying]”. Through appeals to the sense of fear, justice, and responsibility, combined with references to authority figures, research statistics and past events, don’t shopping list!! the reader is compelled to agree with the writer that cyber bullying is a dangerous activity that should be stopped “nor should the victims suffer in silence”. Tone?
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