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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 liable for their five-year-old child's lawoffending behaviour or even subject to punishment. In my viewpoint, parents must be held responsible.

Unlike adults, children break the law in the absence of either incentive or motive. Their acts are accidental and intuitive, signalling the accumulative effect of the environment where they grow up. Children informative years 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 gatekeepers to prevent their children from watching TV and playing video games, thereby negating the 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 courtesy and 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 discontented with 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 part they 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 inescapable responsibility until their child comes of age.

1. liable = responsible = accountable

2. subject to = exposed to

3. in the absence of = lacking

4. accidental = unintentional = unplanned = inadvertent

5. intuitive = instinctive = spontaneous

6. signal = indicate

7. formative = impressionable

8. gatekeeper = guardian = protector = custodian

9. negate = counteract = reverse = wipe out

10. courtesy = politeness

11. discontented = dissatisfied = unhappy = displeased

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-old nature 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 predisposition for 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 evident from as early as those people's preschool years. Criminals are also diagnosed to share a similar set of psychological problems, indicating their heritable nature. 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 worsened by the environment.

While the impact of genetic predisposition is recognised, genetics is not solely responsible for unlawful acts. 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 label him 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.

1. age-old = long-standing

2. predisposition = disposition = penchant

3. evident = obvious = apparent = manifest = marked = patent = plain

4. diagnose = detect = identify

5. heritable = inherited = hereditary

6. circumstance = environment = condition

7. worsen = multiply

8. unlawful = illegal = illegitimate = prohibited

9. label = regard = consider = brand

10. upbringing = rearing = education

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. Unmonitored use of computers isolates them from those activities and makes them indifferent to the real world. They are so immersed in the computer that they are rarely concerned 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 conducive to their development

Another hazard of 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 themes have 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 escape for 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 classing the types of content a child can view, teachers and parents are able to use the computer technology to great advantage while avoiding possible harms.

1. detrimental = harmful = damaging = unfavourable

2. unmonitored = :unsupervised = uncontrolled

3. immersed in = absorbed in = engrossed by

4. rarely = hardly = seldom = once in a blue moon

5. conducive = favourable = helpful = advantageous = beneficial

6. hazard = risk = peril = danger

7. theme = main subject = main idea

8. escape = diversion = distraction = pastime

9. class = classify = categorise = group

Date: 2015-12-17; view: 1501

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Topic 91: Some people argue that history is of little or no use to us. Others believe that studying history gives many benefits. Discuss those views and give your own opinion. | Topic 98: The computer is widely used in education and some people think that teachers will not play important roles in the classroom. To what extent do you agree?
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