For Further Discussion
1. Janna Malamud Smith supports her argument that the Internet helps people stay connected by providing examples of her son and her chatting with distant friends online. On the other hand, Douglas Groothuis contends that online communication—such as that extolled by Smith—cannot provide the trust and human interaction necessary to build meaningful relationships. Describe a deep friendship that you enjoy, listing the specific qualities that make it meaningful and enduring. In your opinion, can such friendships be developed and sustained over the Internet? Why or why not?
2. Anthony G. Wilhelm uses a U.S. Department of Commerce study—which found that affluent people are more likely to own computers than those at the lowest income level—to argue that unequal access to the Internet harms society. However, Eric Cohen criticizes the way Wilhelm and others use the Commerce study, contending that they exaggerate the extent of the “digital divide” by ignoring statistics that show that the digital divide is narrowing. In your opinion, how do Cohen’s assertions affect the cogency of Wilhelm’s argument? Examine the rest of Wilhelm’s evidence and explain whether or not his omission of positive Commerce study findings seriously undermines his conclusion.
3. Stacia Brown claims that Internet hate groups are a serious problem. Conversely, Charles Platt maintains that there are fewer hate groups operating on the...
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