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Harlen Cohen’s “The Undercover Parent”

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Harlen Coben, in an essay in The New York Times, “The Undercover Parent” (March 16, 2008) asserts that parents should install spyware on their children’s computers in order to protect children from the dangers of the internet. Coben claims that because what a child does on the internet is public, as a parent you have the right to view it as well, so we should be monitoring them in this area as well. However, Coben does admit that this is indeed an invasion of privacy, but that in order to be a good parent we must do so to protect our children from pedophiles and bullies that lure on the internet. Coben attempts to educate parents about the dangers the internet poses to children, and how spyware can be an effective solution to our need to protect our kids.

Jeff Jacoby, in his essay titled “Bring Back Flogging” published in The Boston Globe (1998), argues that the criminal justice system should consider going back to flogging as a form of punishment to crimes such as first time or second time offenders. Jacoby argues that because our current preference for punishing crime through imprisonment is too costly, ineffective, and also counter-productive, we should instead adopt some form of corporal punishment, such as flogging for certain crimes. Jacoby states that not all crimes can be punished with flogging such as murder and rape, but in order for a more affective system we should consider bringing back flogging, for crimes such as burglary or driving while intoxicated. Jacoby attempts to educate us Americans, tax payers, business and home owners about the cost and ineffective justice system that we use today and how we should start thinking about how we can change it to where we can obtain lower crime rates and stop amateur thugs before they become career criminals.

Anya Kamenetz, in her essay titled “Your 16, You’re Beautiful and You’re a Voter” published in The Boston Globe (February 6, 2008), argues that the voting age should be lowered to the age of sixteen. Kamenetz states that teens at the age of sixteen already are able to obtain a drivers permit with a course of drivers education, therefore teens should also be able to obtain a voting permit by passing a civics course, also if the voting age lowered this would be a good transition into a sense of responsibility for their future in many ways such as when they reach marriage, drinking, sexual initiations, and even credit cards. Kamenetz explains that teens would be more legally mature if the law would be more flexible and if they paired education with cognitive requirements, but in order to get teens to take their future seriously the law should lower the voting age with some requirements and give them a sense of responsibility to gradually help with making choices later in life. Kamenetz attempts to reach parents, government, and citizens hoping to convince them to allow teens to vote and this would help to reinforce the nation, by making voting a privilege more than a right.

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