This is a title from the January 2013 Edexcel IGCSE English Language exam paper which you can find online here.
‘Modern life has many dangers for young people.’
Write a magazine article for teenagers giving them advice on how to stay safe.
We racked our brains for a while, and figured out that the examiners were probably thinking about modern technology. So this is what we wrote. It's 375 words long (not including the notes at the end) and needs to be finished...
The lives of young people today have changed beyond all recognition. Teens a decade ago had never seen a smartphone, twitter, or the full extent of what facebook could do. We are living through a time of unprecedented change, where young people are at the cutting edge and adults struggle to keep up. Teachers and parents are only dimly aware of the dangers, with even less idea of how to protect young people from them.
The internet has democratised information. Anyone can become a contributor to a website, blog, or forum, regardless of their age or qualifications. This has given voice to a wider number of people than ever before. We are swimming in oceans of information that can often feel overwhelming. As traditional gatekeepers like publishers, universities and teachers are losing editorial control, we are drowning in a tide of ill thought out, superfluous, even offensive noise. Bomb-making websites abound. You can find instructions to do anything you want, even if you shouldn’t. There is no control, and this can be deadly. At an impressionable age, teens can follow a train of thought on google into a quagmire (bog) of unsuitable imagery and dangerous ideas.
Don’t post or do anything without thinking about it twice. This rule is completely essential; everything from making a simple tweet going on an online chat room could go sour. If you think there is the slightest chance that there could be negative connotations to you doing it - now or in the future - simply don’t do it. Employers now look at what you have posted on social media feeds, and what pictures you have up, so do you really want to take the risk with your future?
Whilst the excessive spending of money is something that people will do, regardless of the advancements of technology, there is an proliferation of the number of ways in which money could be spent - without you even realising it. New software applications can be purchased from online stores with a click of a button, often for very low sums of money, likely cheaper than a physical counterpart. The problem arises when people attempt to justify buying various different apps, because of the cheaper price. Frictionless, detached, no physical money changes hands
Now it's your turn. Here are some more ideas to include...
Things not to do Dangers:
-cyber bullying (how to stay safe from this)
-permanent written record - facebook, comment on a forum, twitter
-not trusting everything you read on the internet: giving out contact/identification details, not meeting up with people you meet online
-mobile phone, text is impulsive - might write things you wouldn’t say to people’s face, also it’s easy to send pictures etc, seems private but might not be as private as it seems
- how easy it is to spend money on Apps, iTunes etc
- how easy it is to access inappropriate content, peer pressure, not always well contextualised
- screen time/gaming can affect development negative. It can be addictive, damaging personal skills and eating away homework time...
- Give a few specific rules for stopping you from doing things without thinking about it:
The author, Melanie Kendry, is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.