Essay: Should Kids Watch TV? - Essay Prowess

Essay: Should Kids Watch TV?


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Should Kids Watch TV?

  1. Who is the author? Does s/he have credibility to discuss the topic? Is there apparent bias? Is an institution sponsoring him/her, and if so, what does that institution represent?

The article titled, “Should kids watch TV?” published in the online magazine, Newsweek is written by two authors, Anna Kuchment and Christina Gilham (60). It is apparent that the two writers are journalists by profession with focused on understanding how electronic media like the television impacts on healthy child development. The authors derive credibility on the subject under discussion from the fact that they work with a reputable magazine publisher, Newsweek as well as the keen interest at keeping tabs with developments from different scholarly communities. There is an apparent bias leaning towards dissociating a media like the TV with unhealthy child development. The sponsoring organization, Newsweek is known for its quest to keep its mature readers up to date with all issues important to them like those pertinent to the healthy development of children. The organization is respected for disseminating information that it grounded on factual truths and scientifically backed data.

  1. What is the thesis, and what is the overall argument the author presents?

The article thesis states that “There’s evidence now that certain kinds of programming can help kids with language development and can be beneficial in moderation” (Kuchment and Gilham 60). This is a statement derived from an assistant professor affiliated the Annenberg school for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (60). The general argument presented throughout the article is that a healthy media diet serves to present optimized developmental outcomes in children.

  1. What did the author choose to study? Why?

The authors, Kuchment and Gilham opted to study the impact of exposing children to TV on their development (60). The main reason is that many parents often feel guilty for allowing their children to watch television given that there are numerous amounts of literature associating TV viewership amongst children with unhealthy developmental outcomes. For instance, Sanders published an article titled, “TV watching is linked to brain changes in kids” in The Washington Post decrying the negative impacts it presents on small children (E.4.). The reason behind Kuchment and Gilham article is to dispel fears among readers that could lead them to making decisions that deny children the healthy benefits associated with watching TV (60).

  1. What is the writers purpose? To inform? To persuade? To criticize?

Perusing through the article, it is apparent that the two authors’ primary purpose for writing the article under discussion is to inform readers on developments in research into the effects of TV on children from different age sets. For instance, the authors quote Linberger’s research as informing parents to ensure that TV content matches a child’s stage of development (Kuchment and Gilham 60).

  1. Who is the authors intended audience? Does s/he appeal to a resistant audience? A Neutral audience? Or is s/he “preaching to the choir?”

The authors appeal to a resistant audience. It is a well accepted fact that parents are highly protective of own children. They seek to ensure that the best possible outcomes are experienced across their children’s lifetimes. For this reason, given that numerous amounts of literature exist undermining the benefits of healthy TV use, the authors feel obligated to appeal to protective parents to loosen the hold on the TV off button.

  1. What appeal(s) are applied (ethos, pathos, logos, or a combination)?

Kuchment and Gilham employ the three forms of rhetorical appeal with great effect throughout the article. Ethos, logos, and pathos are employed in different ways in the article. For instance, ethos is used to effectively cement the credibility of the authors’ viewpoint on children and TV watching by inferring to informed opinions expressed by well versed researchers like Deborah Linebarger working with reputable institutions of higher learning (Kuchment and Gilham 60). Similarly, pathos is applied extensively to appeal to the emotion faculties of readers. For example, in the article’s opening line, the authors provide that “Parents who feel guilty about letting their kids watch TV might breathe a sigh of relief after talking to Deborah Linebarger” (Kuchment and Gilham 60). Through the use of statistics, logos is effectively utilized to appeal to the reader. One can therefore agree that the authors have used a combination of the three rhetorical appeals to appeal to readers.

  1. How does the writer arrange his or her ideas? Does the author use inductive or deductive reasoning in structuring the argument?

The authors arrange ideas in a climactic manner. For example, the first line appeals to parents to “breathe a sigh of relief”, while dispelling fears that videogames and TV result in “obesity and attention-deficit disorders”, before concluding that “a healthy media diet” is achievable (Kuchment and Gilham 60). By employing inductive reasoning, the authors are able to derive general proposition from specific examples to strongly argue that the premise at hand is true, that something like “a healthy media diet” exists.

  1. Did you note any fallacies as you read? Is so, which ones?

One particular fallacy occurs in some parts of the article. This is the straw man fallacy. The authors anticipate on some of the readers responses to the issue at hand by setting up a weaker viewpoint of the purported opponent’s argument. For instance, in the third paragraph, Kuchment and Gilham defeat Dr. Dimitri Christakis’ professional opinion by stating that Linebarger believes that it is necessary to “follow your kid’s cues” (60). The effect is to position Linebarger’s arguments as superior to Dr. Dimitri’s since the former sets the basis for the article’s general direction.

9.How does the writer use diction? (Word choice, arrangement, accuracy, is it formal, informal? Technical versus slang?)

The writers employ diction with great effect given that word choice, arrangement, and accuracy make reading the article straightforward for the magazine reader. There is minimal application of slang in the article as the authors make a concerted effort to present their argument in a formal manner.

10.Does the writer use dialogue? Quotations? Statistics? Why?

The authors do not use dialogue in the article but extensively apply quotation as well as minimal statistics. For instance, statistics is used once, “90 percent of 2-year-olds regularly watch TV, DVDs or videos, and one third of 3- to 6-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom” (Kuchment and Gilham 60). However, quotations are employed extensively and effectively in the entire article.

11.What have others said about this text? Some databases like Opposing Viewpoints will automatically share related articles. If you find an article online, you can search for more information (for example, the student with an interest in video games might search Video Game Violence Reactions).

There are articles available online which seem to support viewpoints embraced by Kuchment and Gilham (60). The article by Emily Yahr titled “Advice on kids’ TV-watching habits” supports the researcher, Dimitri Christakis as an open minded professional knowledgeable of the positive benefits of TV watching (T.11.).

Works Cited

Gillham, Christina, and Anna Kuchment. “Kids: To TV Or Not TV.” Newsweek, 18 Feb. 2008, p. 60. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 18 June 2019.

Sanders, Laura. “TV watching is linked to brain changes in kids Science News.” The Washington Post ; Washington, D.C. [Washington, D.C]10 Dec 2013: E.4.

Yahr, Emily. “Advice on kids’ TV-watching habits.” The Washington Post ; Washington, D.C. [Washington, D.C]24 June 2012: T.11.