2020-06-21 11:30:25 Judge: nzlockie TOP JUDGEWin awarded to:
Firstly I need to point out that CON doesn't carry any significant BOP in this debate - by which I mean, to win this debate PRO needs to convince us that there should be a legal age for using a mobile phone. CON only has to poke enough holes in PRO's case to throw doubt on it.
Most of PRO's case against cell phones being used by children actually related to their access to the internet. It was smart, albeit a little shady to redefine "Mobile Phone" as exclusively "Smart Phones" for this reason, but ultimately it was a flawed case. CON quite correctly pointed out that the harms PRO cites are more related to the Internet, rather than the means of accessing the internet. I have no choice but to seriously downgrade PRO's harms of cyber bullying, grooming, misc health risks and the lack of focus during school.
I'm awarding minimal points for some of the health risks and the lack of focus, because these these ARE valid concerns, but PRO, to score with these you really needed to hammer home the fact that the cell phone's portability makes these a much higher risk than a laptop. As a judge, I can't be expected to draw that conclusion myself. If it's any consolation, unless you did a massive switch of direction, it probably wouldn't have been enough anyway.
Finally, in the last round, PRO starts to correct the ship with some significant focus on radiation effects of phones of kids. This argument is directly related to cellphone use rather than internet use - much better.
However there are multiple problems with this: not only is he introducing new evidence in the last round, (big no-no) but his argument basically boils down to a scary picture with not even a claim of correlation, and some conjecture about things we are worried about. By this stage, PRO would have basically needed to have given me a iron-clad claim that this radiation definitely causes fatal cancer.. which of course he can't do.
It's too little, too late.
As I said earlier, CON didn't actually have to convince me of anything to win this debate, all he had to do was neg PRO's points, and he did this with ease.
CON did suggest some alternative options to address some of PRO's concerns - I found these to be adequate - if the debate was around the dangers of easy internet access for youngsters, he probably would have had to do a little more. But it wasn't, and he didn't.
There was a very nice catch from CON on the debate over 58% vs 97%. Well handled by both teams. That little back and forth was easily the highlight of the debate for me.
In the end, an easy win for CON. Feedback:
Firstly and sincerely - good job by both sides. I've done this debate a couple of times and it's not an easy one - especially for PRO.
PRO - I have a few things for you:
1. Really be clear with those definitions. You started off by addressing the resolution - I like this, BUT you redefined it in a really weird way. CON would have been quite within his rights to call you out on this, as you reframed it significantly away from the original point. You said it wasn't "Mobile Phones" - it was Smart Phones, and you said it wasn't "using" them, it was "owning" them. Both of these significantly alter the resolution, but worse than that, they make your already difficult case, even harder.
The one word you SHOULD have defined was, "age". Throughout the debate I was left unsure exactly how old we were talking. There were several ages mentioned and it really needed to be defined.
2. The structure in this debate was awful. You introduced new arguments throughout almost every round - including the last one. It was a limited character debate, so I can certainly cut you SOME slack for that, but you really need to practice framing your whole debate from the first round. Have a good think about your two or three points, think about the potential counter points and how much space you'll have to deal with each of these. New arguments need to be introduced by the second round AT THE LATEST. Otherwise it looks like you're scrambling and just grasping at straws.
3. Don't be afraid to listen to your opponent. CON's point that you were focused on harms not unique to the cell phone was OBVIOUSLY true. It was indefensible. Either drop it entirely, or, what's better, try to slide to the side and hope nobody notices. An example of this would have been for you to acknowledge that the internet is the harm, but point out the mobile phone is what makes the internet so EASY to access. It's not a great argument, but it shifts the focus away from your bad direction and back to something more related to the resolution.
On the positives, I liked your calling him out on his source with the 97% thing. It's too bad that he was right, or that you ran out of time to combat his last comment on that issue - but I thought you did a good job with that point anyway. There are plenty of opponents where you would have got away with that one.
I probably don't have as much for you here - you argued your side as well as you needed to. As already stated, there were a couple of points you needed to address, and you handled those very well. Your counter points didn't really land for me - it might be worth remembering that not everyone on the internet is a libertarian - personally I'd have needed a little more fleshing out of exactly WHY parents should have essentially free reign to raise their kids however they want. PRO's obvious angle was always going to be that unmitigated cell phone use was going to be harmful to the child, so therefore you'd need to either explain why we should let Parents make decisions that might be harmful to their children, or else just drop that point and focus on the fact that there's no harm to the kids. If there's no harm to the kids, then the Parental rights thing is irrelevant, and if there IS harm to he kids, then the Parental rights thing is also irrelevant.
The other thing that kind of bugged me as a judge, was when you continually used the phrase, "he dropped this point so he agrees with it. "
The issue of dropping points is really nuanced - especially in a limited character debate. Most savvy judges are aware that one common tactic is to over load your opponent with points so that they don't have space to address them all. That's because in High School, a dropped point is almost automatically a loss.
But in a real debate a point can easily go without comment if the person making that point feels that it has been made soundly enough. It's definitely risky, but there's a point where both sides have made their respective comments on that issue, and ultimately it's more efficient to let the point lay. Someone has to get the last word, and that person doesn't automatically win.
There were many times where you phrased this well and effectively - but there were also times where, as a judge, it felt like you were maybe pushing it a little too far. In those cases it would have been fine to draw my attention to the fact that the point had been dropped - but claiming that this means PRO has reversed his position on the subject is kind of you putting words in his mouth.
On the positives for you, again, the way you handled the conflict over the source material was excellent. You made it really clear, and without sounding condescending - which is always a trap that I personally fall into!
Nice job both of you!
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