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«Task 1: LETTER Do you think teens are hurting themselves by spending too much time using gadgets late at night? Do you think parents should limit a ...»

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Reports finds gadget happy teens may not be sleeping enough

An Australian study has shown that over 50% of high school students are not getting enough

sleep because they are too busy playing video games, watching TV, listening to their mp3

players, or talking on their cellphones late into the night. According to one researcher, “A lot of kids are reporting that they are tired when they wake up, and there are quite a few reporting they are sleepy during the day, which is affecting their performance at school”.

Concerned about the results of the study, a local resident mother of two teenagers had this to say: “Maybe it is time for us parents to take away such toys at bedtime so that better habits can be learned early in life and extended into their adult years”.

Task 1: LETTER Do you think teens are hurting themselves by spending too much time using gadgets late at night? Do you think parents should limit a teen’s use of these gadgets? Write a letter to the

editor of the City Times reacting to both of the issues raised in the article. Start your letter:

“Dear editor”.


Dear Editor:

It is a fact that teens are not sleeping well since they are in the habit of using electronic devices at night. The use of Internet, cable TV, computer games, among others; is keeping young lads awake. I am writing this letter to let you and everyone know of my opinion. I am convinced that parents should do something to control their children's access to high-tech tools at night. I'll try to briefly explain what led me to this conviction.

Sleeping is a basic human need. It is a proven fact that people who regularly sleep less than eight hours a day are more exposed to having health problems. For example, our cardiovascular system may collapse if we do not get our necessary dose of sleep. Besides, our brain activity gets slower when sleep is reduced; all of this may bring consequences into our learning habits. On top of that, our life spam is reduced if we push our body to work with little pauses. Then, what can be done to counteract the negative effects of sleeplessness?

Kids are not mature enough to control themselves. Parents need to take action; they must control the number of hours their children get hooked to technology. For instance, a parent should set computers and televisions in places where they can monitor their kids’ activity. They should never allow them to have a computer or a TV in their bedrooms. It could also be a good idea to switch off internet access at a determined time, preventing this way that kids stay up unnecessarily. Each parent should decide on the best ways to keep an eye on the issue.

As you can see, controlling means loving. What we do as parents now will determine how healthy our kids are as adults. Take action in the present to avoid regrets in the future.

They may resent it for a few weeks, but they will be thankful for a whole life.


–  –  –

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the article entitled “Happy Gadget teens might not be sleeping enough”, which states that the overuse of electronics is making teenagers cut down on sleeping hours. We all know this is a true fact that cannot be hidden. Some parents have suggested taking electronics away from our kids’ reach at bedtime. I believe that before taking such a dire measure, we need to analyze both benefits and drawbacks of such action. Let’s take a look at both sides of this issue.

On one hand, not allowing our kids to have access to tech tools at night might help them sleep better. If we wonder why our children keep awake at night, we will find out that all the reasons are always somehow connected to an electronic gadget. Whether they log onto their computers, watch TV or DVDs, chat on their smart phones, or listen to music on their Ipods; technology always seems to be root of the issue. It makes sense then to believe that they will sleep earlier if they do not have access to high-tech toys at night. This is what happens when I take my kids to the country, where there are fewer modern devices. My kids sleep as early as nine when they cannot access technology. When this happens, I can notice they are more energetic all they long, and even have a healthier look. However, our good intentions might be threatened by something stronger than goodwill: nature.

Our kids might react negatively before the prohibition to access their beloved electronic belongings. The rebellious spirit typical from this age could lead to even worse habits. What was intended to cause health benefits might cause a serious disturbance within family ties.

Teens might get extremely disobedient, talk back to parents more often, or even fall into addiction to harmful substances if you they are not let use tech gadgets. If parents fail to make their kids understand this measure is taken for their wellbeing, the resulting outcome might destroy the fragile harmony built with so much sacrifice and dedication.

In balance, it seems to be that the decision of limiting teenaged kids’ access to technology has to be carefully analyzed before being taken. There is not a position that will work for all homes. It is up to parents to decide if this measure will bring more benefits than drawbacks. Parents know their kids, so the decision they make will be the best for their particular case.


–  –  –

Dear Abby:

I am a 15-year old junior in high school; I feel a little worried about my father. As far as I can remember, he has always liked smoking. He never does it at home or when I am around; but when he gets back home at night; he is always always carrying a half-empty package of cigarettes in his shirt pocket. When I was a child, I played with the empty packages, but now I am concerned about his health. Last week, while I was using my dad’s computers, I found a medical prescription signed four months ago, in which the doctor said it was vital for my dad to give up smoking. After I read this, I remembered that he gets short of breath too fast when walking upstairs or playing table tennis. I have not yet talked to him about it because I am a little afraid of his reaction. Do you think I shall talk to him? If so, how should I do it? Any suggestions will be welcome.

Frustrated with Father Task 1: LETTER Abby has invited reader to write letters to “Frustrated with Father”, the best one will be published. Write a letter giving advice about the situation. Begin your letter: “Dear Frustrated with Father”

Dear frustrated with Father:

I read in the paper that you are going through a hard moment with your father; he simply refuses to leave his addiction to smoking even when the doctor has urged him to do it. I was touched by your letter because my father had exactly the same attitude, and he paid the highest prize for ignoring the doctor’s suggestions.

Dad started smoking when he was a university student. My mother told me that by that time, he would only smoke one or two cigarettes a day. Little by little, his body’s need for tobacco increased. By the end of his 30´s, he was already consuming more than a package a day. Although mom told him to quit his addiction many times, the only thing he did was to stop doing it home. This hazardous habit did not seem to affect him in any way until the day of his fortieth birthday.

The whole family had gotten together to celebrate this special day. Everything was fine.

Dad seemed to be in the best shape of his life. We were drinking and toasting when all of a sudden, dad took his hands to his chest, and then heavily fell to the ground. My uncles acted quickly, they loosened his clothes and massaged his chest. He was not breathing. Someone called an ambulance; the paramedics arrived in no time. Despite all the efforts made by both my uncles and the paramedics, dad passed away there, in the middle of the living room. The post mortem exams revealed that a life of addiction to cigarettes had made his veins go so rigid that they had lost the capacity of transporting blood efficiently. His habit had taken his life little by little.

You can imagine the sorrow this sad event caused. It was a senseless death that could have been perfectly avoided by cutting down on smoking. I don’t want anyone else to go through such painful time. Do as much as you can to convince your dad of quitting. If possible, have him read this letter I am sending you, or he could even meet face to face with me to have a talk. Don’t wait until it is too late. This might be the last chance he has to give his health an opportunity.

–  –  –

P.S. I am attaching my address and phone number. Feel free to contact me anytime.


PROMPT: Currently, most schools spend more resources teaching sciences and technology than teaching the arts. Do you agree? Write an essay stating and supporting your opinion about this issue.

All the educational systems around the globe are based on a hierarchy of subjects in which math, sciences, and technology are on the top; while the arts are on the bottom rung of the ladder. Consequently, more resources are assigned to the first group, whereas little or no support is given to the latter. I believe education is going in the wrong direction by setting this order of priorities. The arts are as important as any science; they enhance creativity and make people more sensitive to the environment that surrounds them. We need to restructure schools curricula based on this premise.

The arts help people create new ways to transmit their feelings and ideas. Any person practicing a type of art finds a channel to express himself; to transmit thoughts in a unique and peculiar way. The arts by essence do not have right or wrong ways, they promote innovation. The sense of originality promoted by the arts develops a permanent spirit of creativity, extensive to any other field of knowledge, including science. Thus, promoting the arts will not also make better artists but also better professionals in all areas of expertise.

The arts humanize people; they take out the best of individuals’ inner world.

Currently, our society is witnessing a sharp increase of crime, violence, and immorality;

and the starting point of theses problem is lack of values. By practicing the arts, people develop a sense of empathy over peers, sensitivity to the suffering of fellow humans.

Then, they are more likely to do something to help others, to become the engine of social change in favor of the most depressed social segments. They get to love and respect nature and the planet, thus helping raise environmental awareness. The arts then make a better world for all of us.

In a nutshell, it makes no sense to devote more efforts to teach sciences than to teach the arts. Both must be given the same respect and consideration in order to build a more human society. Lets’ raise our kids into sensitivity and beauty as much as we raise them into technology and sciences.

–  –  –

Throughout my life, I have many times heard that hardship always ends up into something good. I used to think this was just hocus-pocus, an euphemism meant to give those fighting the odds some hope. However, it was not until my late twenties that I completely understood this idea encloses one of the most universal truths. I learned the hard way, but I am glad I did.

My parents got married later than most of their generational peers. They tied the knot in 1976, when dad was 47 and mom was 33. Consequently, my siblings and I were brought up by a mature couple, mature in every aspect one may think of; the wisdom that only time can give was always at the core of our education. For some reason, my dad developed bonds with me stronger than those with my siblings; he was the best father a child could have. However, his late marrying also implied that the family had to deal with a father in the dusk of his physical strength. My dad had developed diabetes and congestive heart failure by the time I was a child. A few years later, he frequently needed to be taken to an emergency room for one reason or another. It was hard for all of us. Due to our strong ties, he felt better when I took care of him, so it was me mainly who was by his side when he came down with a health problem. I was pleased to have this responsibility, but it also implied dealing with the anxiety and desperation of seeing him suffering. I was always with him when he needed me, always except once…and that once turned out to be last.

In April 2008, dad came down with a common cold. Although it was not a serious illness, we took him to a hospital for a medical checkup. The doctor on duty said it was a minor problem.

Nevertheless, he suggested he stay hospitalized for monitoring; diabetes damages the organs of those who suffer from this ailment, so it was necessary for him to stay. I was with him that day. Next day, my siblings and I decided to take turns to look after him at the hospital. I was supposed to be with him in the evening, but I had some duties to fulfill at work, so I asked my older brother to take my night shift, he accepted. I spend a few minutes with dad in the afternoon, and then I told him I had to leave. He asked me to stay for a little longer but I said I couldn’t. I kissed him good bye and promised to be back next day in the morning. I went home to work on my teaching staff and turned in at about two in the morning. At about six, someone knocked on my door, it was my brother. Just by looking at his face, I knew he was there to tell me what I would have never wanted to hear. Despite all the medical efforts, Federico Loyola, the man who taught me to be a man, had passed away after a fatal cardiac arrest.

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