Q2. AO2: ‘Social Websites Harm Children’s Brains’ By: Esha Shahzad 10-M


The extract ‘Social Websites Harm Children’s Brains’ is a non-fiction newspaper article from MAIL ONLINE. Semi-formal language is used in the passage which is mainly intended for parents and children. The writer informs the reader about the harmful effects and ‘’alarming changes’’ social media is causing in children and how their mental health should not be dismissed by their parents.

Vocabulary used in the passage is simple, yet effective which makes it accessible to a wider audience of all age groups. However, the author makes frequent use of jargons such as ‘’micro-blogging’’ and ‘’fight of flight’’ to create a sense of authenticity and reliability in the reader’s mind. Such technical terminology appeals to the reader and is an example of LOGOS which helps gain the reader’s trust as an impression of discernment in the author is given off.

Additionally, the author uses statistics which is an example of LOGOS. Statistics are used throughout such as when the author says ‘’Over 150 million use Facebook’’. This alarms the reader as they are made aware of popularity of social media.

Secondly, expert advice taken from Baroness Greenfield (Oxford University neuroscientist) and Jane Healy (Educational psychologist) is added onto the passage to gain the reader’s trust as an impression of authenticity is given off and the reader’s think that proper research has been done before relaying the information in the passage. Author also generalizes that ‘’all psychologists and neuroscientists’’ have similar opinions on harmful effects of social media which further convinces the reader.

There is a wide variety of figures of speech even though it is a semi-formal passage loaded with logical information. Idiom is used in the passage when the authors talks about how Susan Greenfield’s ‘’disturbing read’’ will ‘’strike a chord’’ with parents who are worried about their children’s mental health. This engages the reader and makes a dramatic point which will surely be embedded in the reader’s mind.

Onomatopoeia such as ‘’buzzing’’ and imagery is used when the author refers to the horrifying adjectives like ‘’butchering’’ and ‘’skinning’’ which leaves the reader in an unsettling position and evokes strong emotions of empathy for the tormented animals. Both techniques help the reader visualize and remain hooked to the passage.

Furthermore, the author uses sensationalism by using triples such as ‘’killing, skinning, butchering’’. These adjectives invoke a sense of outrage in the reader and connote a terrifying and frightening picture in the reader’s mind as they begin to visualize the harsh treatment of animals.

The structure of the passage consists of 2 sentence paragraphs loaded with compound adjectives such as ‘’alarming changes’’, ‘’disturbing read’’ and ‘’instant gratification’’ which keep the reader engaged and prevent the passage from sounding dull and monotonous and the reader’s mood from becoming apathetic.

In conclusion, the passage successfully portrays its idea of how social media can be extremely dangerous to children by referring to mental illnesses like autism and emotionally appealing to the audience by using tons of adjectives. It ends strong by advising children to ‘’make real relations with people’’.


About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at fabbas227@hotmail.com or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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