This is a scaled-down version of my published answer in FBP's GP 10-year series.
2014 A Levels GP Paper 2 APPLICATION QUESTION
Emily Speight generally welcomes the internet but highlights some concerns about its possible effects on individuals and society. How far would you agree with her observations, both for and against the Internet, relating your arguments to your own society?
Speight takes an optimistic view towards the internet and raises some concerns on its dangers to us which she then downplays. However, I find that her arguments lack originality and foresight, compelling me to reject them out of practical and moral considerations, given the deleterious effects that the internet has wrought on my society.
Speight supports advocates of the internet in paragraph 6, sharing with readers its’ collaborative possibilities. Nevertheless, I cannot fully accept Speight’s optimism here as she fails to consider how the internet may be abused by people for superficial reasons. Having volunteered in organizations which assist both ALS patients and people who suffer from other debilitating diseases, I find it emotionally disturbing that many of my peers chose to participate in the Ice-Bucket challenge without first understanding the nature and difficulties faced by these individuals. The driving impetus behind their actions in these cases centered on carrying out the challenge and then uploading footage of it onto their own Facebook profiles or Instagram accounts, thereby establishing bragging rights amongst their peers. Thus, the internet may only encourage a skin-deep pretense at civic activism and fail to address the underlying social anomie faced by modern societies such as mine.
Speight’s concession to the dangers of the internet in paragraph 7 are therefore more palatable and agreeable to me, as they demonstrate a practical sensibility and awareness towards the threats posed by the internet. In particular, the tendency to carry out unreflective actions online resonates with my views and concerns on the subject matter, especially when we consider how this trend has increasingly dominated the online and social media landscape in my society, with predictably disruptive results on our social values and culture. This trend was manifested fully in February this year in the Anton Casey controversy, a British expatriate whose disparaging online remarks about poor people on public transport drew much public opprobrium. While Casey’s insensitivity is worthy of censure, the over-reaction by a significant number of netizens is itself a cause of concern. Their vicious outing and disclosure of Casey’s personal details online, as well as exposure of his family members’ personal details, constitute in itself a form of online vigilantism that brings out the vindictive and unthinking lynch-mo in us. In fighting the monstrosity of Casey’s views online through our own unreflective writings, we risk becoming the very monster that we set out to censure. Thus, rather than improving our lives, the Internet may, as Speight considers, impoverish us all.
Thorough development and response to 2 author’s arguments. More scope and inclusion of ideas through a 3rd paragraph would help elevate the discussion.