?Using Language to Persuade – ‘Bans Will Protect Your Unruly Little Darlings’ Jo Thornely. The recent news of Drummoyne Public School’s ban on handstands has led to much criticism of parents being overprotective of their children. In her article, ‘Bans will protect your unruly little darlings’ (featured in the daily Telegraph, August 29, 2012), Jo Thornely argues that Parents are too safety conscious of their children and are breathing down schools’ backs in order to keep their children safe. Thornely sarcastically proposes some other bans that schools may want to impose.
The intended audience for the piece are parents whose children are at a school going age. The article is accompanied by a visual piece; a photograph of students doing handstands and jumping in the presence of adult supervisors. The image is accompanied by a caption reading ‘children need to be children, don’t smother their natural instincts to play. ’ Thornely begins the piece by listing the many things schools have banned or proposed on banning such as ‘energy drinks, mayonnaise, kiwi fruit, hugging and the word Easter,’ in order to attempt to show readers how out of hand schools have gotten in banning.
The list is a way of ridiculing schools and makes the reader feel as if the schools banning is ridiculous. Thornely sarcastically goes on to propose some things schools should look to ban. One of the things that is proposed is hard bread crust. She uses something as ridiculous as bread crust to mock the schools bans. She follow this up by bringing up a common myth or joke about bread crust saying ‘let’s just eliminate crust altogether… the bonus here is a reduction in curly-haired children. ’ She uses the mockery and the joke to humour the reader and making them agree that the schools bans are too out of hand.
The article is supported by a photograph depicting supervisors in the presence of children jumping and performing handstands. The image has two supervisors, one behind the children and the other supporting the child through a handstand. The image tried to show reader the ridiculous amount of supervision that the school deploys in order to keep students safe. The image makes the schools policies look nonsensical in the eyes of the reader. Both the image and the text show to readers that school policies are out of hand and that schools are doing way too much and are overprotecting the children.
After presenting the ridiculous nature of these bans Thornely goes on to state that these bans are ‘not letting them just be children. ’ Thornely also states that these bans are just like ‘packing children in cotton wool’ which suggest to the reader that all the smothering with safety and protection ids hampering the children’s ability to be children. It is a part of a child’s behaviour to come in contact with danger and it is also a child’s nature to be free and open. The cotton wool does not just represent protecting the child but also preventing them to run freely.
To the reader this idea can be quite alarming and can make them feel that bans are not allowing children to have physical freedom and therefore it makes the reader oppose the bans. The image also supports this view as the image shows the restrictors the children have because of the supervisors. The children are packed to gather in a group similar to sheep, which are not like children. Children are usually seen running around in no particular co-ordination but the in the photograph the children’s jumping looks methodical and co-ordinated.
As the caption reads: ‘children need to be children, don’t smother their natural instinct to play. This gives reader the impression that the children are being protected as if they were sheep being protected from wolves, an impression that is very unnatural. Both the article and the photograph show the restrictive nature of the bans which does not allow children to act like children. Thornely also argues that by allowing children to experience some of the dangers presented to them, it can form children into ‘well-rounded adults.
She states, using a sarcastic tone, ‘we must protect future generations from things such as scraped knees, questionable self-esteem, fun…’ These are all the things she feels that help children from into well-rounded adults. By stating this Thornely implies that by having these bans parents are preventing their children from forming into well-rounded adults. For readers it is meant to make them feel that these bans are bad for the children’s future and they disagree with the bans. The photograph depicts the children in a restricted and artificial environment.
This links in with the text because the restrictions the bans are causing are not allowing children to develop properly. Also the controlled environment also means that the children’s development is not coming naturally from dealing with dangers. Instead of children falling down and picking themselves up, the restrictions mean that there will be supervisors to pick the children up. This will not teach children to be persistent and self-dependant.
Reader may feel angry at parents and schools who support bans as they many feel that children are not getting the opportunities to develop properly. In her article Jo Thornely holds the contention that parents are becoming over conscious of their children’s safety and are making schools adopt ridiculous safety policies. Using a sarcastic tone she attempts to impose her opinion onto parents, trying to make them believe that the bans are becoming out of hand with bans on kiwi fruit to the word ‘Easter’.
She also argues that the bans don’t allow children to have the freedom of being children and that the bans are not allowing children to become well-rounded adults.
Thornely also proposes a sarcastic and overly exaggerated list of other bans schools may want to impose. Her arguments are supported by a visual piece – a photograph depicting children participating in physical activities in the presence and with the assistance of supervisors in a controlled and restrictive environment. Tornely’s argument has come after the recent banning of cartwheels in Drummoyne Public School and she uses her article to show readers that such restrictions are harming for children.