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The Undercover Parent: Coben’s Spyware Logic Essay

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Internet is advancing every day, parents have no idea what their kids are doing in cyberspace and are contemplating the idea of spyware. In the article, “The Undercover Parent” by Harlan Coben, he argues the idea of parents putting spyware on kids’ computer is a good idea to keep the child safe. Many American parents have no idea what happens in cyberspace; sex, bullying, and drugs. Parents are torn between protecting their child with spyware and allowing the child to have privacy. Coben uses his friends’ personal experiences to support his argument without leaving room for counterarguments. By using strong emotional appeals, weak qualifiers, and sugary word choice Coben creates a weak argument that lacks persuasion.
To begin with, many parents look for a connection with the author when it comes to subjects dealing with children and privacy. Coben’s targeted audiences are parents of adolescent children. Coben says “Loving Parents are doing surveillance here, not faceless bureaucrats” to slowly unhook any minds that aren’t already on board with spyware. The mention of pedophiles, porn, and teenage drug use are emotional appeals that will reach out to parents. Coben does well with identifying his audience but fails to establish credibility. In some cases Coben was being unrealistic, take for example a “Straight A” teenage girl sleeping with her dealer and using drugs are going to get parents attention but the reaction of the father may make them falter in reasoning. Not many parents in their right minds would calmly go to their daughter and just talk, there would be more yelling and rebelling involved. People need the truth just writing it off and down playing a serious situation as an after school sitcom will cause people to los...


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...daughter of his friend it would not have the same effect. Coben down plays pornography but still, catches the reader’s attention by saying “hardcore pornography sites” many mothers will be quick to react to statement like that. Having good adjectives is exceptional but should not make the argument, there should be hardcore evidence.
All in all, Coben did a great job of finding and trying to relate to his targeted audience. With more details Coben could have had a great argument that would have had parents everywhere wanting to get spyware for their children. He failed to establish credibility and weaken his overall goal. Failure to identify a counter argument made his argument completely one sided and bias. The sugary words, emotional appeals, and the qualifier could hold up by themselves leaving readers questionable and a bit confused about the overall article.



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