Topic 94: Do you think that parents should be punished if their five-year-old child commits a crime? From what age should children be held responsible for their own behaviours?
Parents' intervention can heavily influence a child's personality and behaviour development. It is an interesting subject of discussion whether parents should be liablefor their five-year-old child's lawoffending behaviour or even subject topunishment. In my viewpoint, parents must be held responsible.
Unlike adults, children break the law in the absence ofeither incentive or motive. Their acts are accidentaland intuitive, signallingthe accumulative effect of the environment where they grow up. Children informativeyears are particularly susceptible to whom they meet and what they see in their daily lives. For example, their violent acts are very likely to reflect a mixed effect of their repeated exposure to violence. Parents should therefore act as gatekeepersto prevent their children from watching TV and playing video games, thereby negatingthe influence of media. Once a child uses violence, it reveals that his or her parents have habitually failed to fulfil those duties. For this reason, parents should be accountable for their child's wrongdoing.
Another example to show parents' effect on their child's behaviour is that many parents fail to set a positive role model. More often than not, parents have their own behaviour problems (such as using violence in the face of their children). As children have a natural ability to imitate others, their violent or unlawful behaviour is potentially a replica of their parents'. That's why children with fine upbringing normally show their courtesyand professional etiquettes in coping with real-life problems, such as conflicts with others, while those children with poor upbringing are more likely to act violently. People are thus not surprised to see that many young delinquents had unhappy lives and felt discontentedwith their life circumstances in which they grew up.
In general, 18 is the age when an individual starts to be legally responsible for his or her acts. This is an age from which a child is ready to explore life him-or-herself and assumes life responsibilities. For the most partthey are allowed to vote, drive, drink and smoke. They have sufficient experience, knowledge and competence for decision making and reaching moral conclusions.
In conclusion, parents should be subject to punishment when their children violate the law, in view of their tremendous influence on their child's behaviour. It is their inescapableresponsibility until their child comes of age.
12. for the most part = on the whole = principally
13. inescapable = inevitable
14. come of age = come to maturity = become an adult
Topic 95: Some scientists believe that studying the behaviour of 3-year-old children can predict their criminality. To what extent do you think a crime is a product of human nature or is it possible to stop children from growing up to be criminals?
The age-oldnature vs nurture debate is concerned mainly with reaching a conclusion over genetic and environmental influences on criminal behaviour, which has long been a subject of interest to psychologists and criminologists. Some scientists subscribe to a view that studying the behaviour of 3-year-old children can help foretell their criminality. To the best of my knowledge, both genes and environment have a bearing over the development of one's behaviour patterns, including criminal or violent behaviour.
The notion that some individuals have a genetic predispositionfor criminal behaviour can seek support from a large number of facts. For example, aggression and impulsivity, two personality traits commonly found among adult criminals, are in fact evidentfrom as early as those people's preschool years. Criminals are also diagnosedto share a similar set of psychological problems, indicating their heritablenature. If given the right circumstances, individuals with those genes would eventually engage in criminal activity. For example, the children raised in an environment where violence and illegitimacy are norms are more likely to commit similar crimes in adulthood. It is therefore fair to say that the effect of heredity is worsenedby the environment.
While the impact of genetic predisposition is recognised, genetics is not solely responsible for unlawfulacts. Criminal tendencies are admittedly clear among those children whose parents have a long criminal history. However, the chances for their engagement in criminal activities would not become bigger until they are exposed to an environment that breeds such activities. Environment can modify, weaken or reinforce one's characteristics. It is the reason why a child can act in a different manner from his or her parents. It is neither practicable nor rational to make a moral judgement on a child simply by their genetic makeup and labelhim or her as a criminal while ignoring the influence of factors like education.
A proper understanding of the impact of environment on individual behaviour also enables people to recognise the influence of some other elements, such as schooling and upbringing. Children, whose biological parents have criminal records, have the potential for personal success, if adopted and reared by well-educated and upper class families. Likewise, children who experience family problems like family breakdown and child abuse are more likely to commit violent crimes later in life. These elements, working either in isolation or in groups, lead to a child's criminal behaviour.
In the light of the facts outlined above, one can conclude that the interaction between genes and the environment is a predictor of criminal behaviour. Certain genes, when combined with certain environmental factors, lead to criminal behaviour. To prevent individuals with criminal disposition from committing crimes, schooling, parenting and some other factors are of critical importance.
Topic 96: Computers do not help children learn more effectively. On the contrary, the use of computers has a negative effect on children's physical and mental development. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
In the new millennium, computer technology is set to become an essential feature of the society. People are very often confronted with the argument concerning the impact of widespread computer use on young people. In my opinion, using computers can be either beneficial or harmful, so moderation is the key.
Excessive use of computers is unarguably detrimental, as it can place children at risk in terms of their physical, social and psychological development. Studies have pointed to the fact that children need physical activity and social interaction to be healthy, happy and productive individuals. Unmonitoreduse of computers isolates them from those activities and makes them indifferent to the real world. They are so immersed inthe computer that they are rarelyconcerned about the people and matters around them. It leads to a drop in their interaction with others, organised sports and other social activities that are conduciveto their development
Another hazardof excessive computer use is children's increased exposure to violent and sexual contents beyond their years, which have long-term negative effects on their lives. Repeated exposure to violence has been recognised and singled out as a decisive element responsible for children's subsequent aggressive behaviour. Although computer games that have violent themeshave been forbidden in many countries, tens of thousands of children are vulnerable to other forms of violence that spread on the Internet.
Despite the negative effects of excessive computer use, adults can take advantage of computer technology in different areas of education. Educational games, for example, are believed to have positive effects on children's intellectual well-being. Some computer games are developed specifically to help children develop academic skills required for schoolwork. Computers meanwhile provide an escapefor children who experience high levels of pressure in the daytime and offer them a balance between campus and off-campus life.
As suggested above, healthy and appropriate use of computers is accepted and encouraged. By giving children ongoing instructions, imposing a limit on computer time and classingthe types of content a child can view, teachers and parents are able to use the computer technology to great advantage while avoiding possible harms.