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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer related to social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram from the real IELTS test.

This is a question that I actually have very strong feelings about and it is reflected in my writing below.

Do you feel strongly about this question too?

Dave

(Read my other task 2 sample answers here, my task 1s here and sign up for my online courses here).

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Social Networking Sites (Real IELTS Test)

Many people believe that social networking sites (such as Facebook) have a huge negative impact on both individuals and society.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The advent of social networking sites, mainly Facebook and Instagram, in the early decades of the 21st century have transformed the ways that people interact with their friends and community. I am in complete agreement that they have had a negative overall impact on both individuals and society.

Social networking sites hurt individuals by replacing more active forms of enjoyment with transitory, unhealthy self-esteem boosts. In the past, people were more likely to take up an active hobby such as painting, playing a sport or learning a musical instrument. Over time those hobbies increase self-esteem, provide hours of enjoyment, and can be seen as active and healthy to varying degrees. Facebook and Instagram replace not only the time spent on worthwhile hobbies but users also get stuck in a feedback loop which gives them temporary bursts of dopamine in place of longer lasting feelings of accomplishment.

Just as social media has undoubtedly hurt individuals, it has also taken its toll on society. It is a common refrain to hear older people complaining about how generations today are narcissists, glued to their phones. There is an element of truth in this. Social networking sites, coupled with smartphones, allow people to withdraw and be anonymous in public places. Over time people will come to feel they have less in common with their fellow man and society will become fragmented and more insular with deeply complex political, individual and social consequences.

In conclusion, the rise of social networking platforms has hurt individuals and society greatly. In order to combat this, governments and parents should at least better regulate their availability to children and young teens.

Analysis

1. The advent of social networking sites, mainly Facebook and Instagram, in the early decades of the 21st century have transformed the ways that people interact with their friends and community. 2. I am in complete agreement that they have had a negative overall impact on both individuals and society.

  1. My first sentence gives the topic for the whole essay – keep this sentence short, simple and clear (mine is a bit long because I try to show off with it).
  2. Your second sentence should give your opinion. I chose to agree completely so that I could fully develop my ideas about individuals and society in separate paragraphs – use this structure in your writing!

1. Social networking sites hurt individuals by replacing more active forms of enjoyment with transitory, unhealthy self-esteem boosts. 2. In the past, people were more likely to take up an active hobby such as painting, playing a sport or learning a musical instrument. 3. Over time those hobbies increase self-esteem, provide hours of enjoyment, and can be seen as active and healthy to varying degrees. 4. Facebook and Instagram replace not only the time spent on worthwhile hobbies but users also get stuck in a feedback loop which gives them temporary bursts of dopamine in place of longer lasting feelings of accomplishment.

  1. Your first sentence should be a simple topic sentence containing the topic and your single main idea. Read more about topic sentences here.
  2. For the second sentence begin to develop, not explain, your main idea.
  3. Keep developing it – be as clear, specific and detailed as possible. Notice the strong vocabulary that comes out in my answer because I’m writing very specifically.
  4. Finish developing the main idea for the paragraph. Don’t mention a second main idea!

1. Just as social media has undoubtedly hurt individuals, it has also taken its toll on society. 2. It is a common refrain to hear older people complaining about how generations today are narcissists, glued to their phones. 3. There is an element of truth in this. 4. Social networking sites, coupled with smartphones, allow people to withdraw and be anonymous in public places. 5. Over time people will come to feel they have less in common with their fellow man and society will become fragmented and more insular with deeply complex political, individual and social consequences.

  1. Just like in the last paragraph, simple topic sentence!
  2. Develop this main idea as well – try to show off a bit with your vocabulary like I did.
  3. Vary your sentences – sometimes long and complex, sometimes simple and accurate. Like taking a pause when you talk.
  4. The more nuance and detail the better!
  5. My last sentence concludes the main idea for this paragraph.

1. In conclusion, the rise of social networking platforms has hurt individuals and society greatly. 2. In order to combat this, governments and parents should at least better regulate their availability to children and young teens.

  1. The first sentence of your conclusion should repeat your opinion (and offer some summary).
  2. Your final sentence must add a final detail that many examiners require for band 7+ for task achievement.

Vocabulary

Try to figure out what all the words in bold mean below:

The advent of social networking sites, mainly Facebook and Instagram, in the early decades of the 21st century have transformed the ways that people interact with their friends and community. I am in complete agreement that they have had a negative overall impact on both individuals and society.

Social networking sites hurt individuals by replacing more active forms of enjoyment with transitory, unhealthy self-esteem boosts. In the past, people were more likely to take up an active hobby such as painting, playing a sport or learning a musical instrument. Over time those hobbies increase self-esteem, provide hours of enjoyment, and can be seen as active and healthy to varying degrees. Facebook and Instagram replace not only the time spent on worthwhile hobbies but users also get stuck in a feedback loop which gives them temporary bursts of dopamine in place of longer lasting feelings of accomplishment.

Just as social media has undoubtedly hurt individuals, it has also taken its toll on society. It is a common refrain to hear older people complaining about how generations today are narcissists, glued to their phones. There is an element of truth in this. Social networking sites, coupled with smartphones, allow people to withdraw and be anonymous in public places. Over time people will come to feel they have less in common with their fellow man and society will become fragmented and more insular with deeply complex political, individual and social consequences.

In conclusion, the rise of social networking platforms has hurt individuals and society greatly. In order to combat this, governments and parents should at least better regulate their availability to children and young teens.

Answers

advent beginning

early decades of the 21st century 2000 – 2020

transformed revolutionised

interact with communicate

complete agreement agree 100%

overall impact total effect

replacing swapping positions with

active forms not passive ways

transitory not lasting

unhealthy self-esteem boosts bad ways to feel good about yourself

active hobby not passive pasttime

increase self-esteem feel better about yourself

varying degrees different levels of

worthwhile hobbies worth spending time on

stuck can’t get out of

feedback loop back and forth relationship

temporary bursts short jolts

dopamine a happy neurochemical

in place of longer lasting instead of something more permanent

undoubtedly definitely

taken its toll had its drag on

common refrain usual words

narcissists self-observed

glued stuck to

element of truth some honesty

coupled with combined with

withdraw take away from

anonymous unknown

public places for everyone to see

in common with both have

fellow man others in a society

fragmented split/broken up

insular alone

deeply complex very complicated

consequences effects

better regulate keep an eye on

availability access to

Pronunciation

ˈædvənt 
ˈɜːli ˈdɛkeɪdz ɒv ðə ˈtwɛnti fɜːst ˈsɛnʧʊri 
trænsˈfɔːmd 
ˌɪntərˈækt wɪð 
kəmˈpliːt əˈgriːmənt 
ˈəʊvərɔːlˈɪmpækt 
rɪˈpleɪsɪŋ 
ˈæktɪv fɔːmz 
ˈtrænsɪtəri
ʌnˈhɛlθi sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm buːsts
ˈæktɪv ˈhɒbi 
ˈɪnkriːs sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm
ˈveəriɪŋ dɪˈgriːz
ˈwɜːθˈwaɪl ˈhɒbiz 
stʌk 
ˈfiːdbæk luːp 
ˈtɛmpərəri bɜːsts 
dəʊpəmiːn ɪn pleɪs ɒv ˈlɒŋgə ˈlɑːstɪŋ 
ʌnˈdaʊtɪdli 
ˈteɪkən ɪts təʊl 
ˈkɒmən rɪˈfreɪn 
nɑːˈsɪsɪsts
gluːd 
ˈɛlɪmənt ɒv truːθ 
ˈkʌpld wɪð 
wɪðˈdrɔː 
əˈnɒnɪməs 
ˈpʌblɪk ˈpleɪsɪz
ɪn ˈkɒmən wɪð 
ˈfɛləʊ mæn 
ˈfrægməntɪd 
ˈɪnsjʊlə 
ˈdiːpli ˈkɒmplɛks 
ˈkɒnsɪkwənsɪz
ˈbɛtə ˈrɛgjʊleɪt 
əˌveɪləˈbɪlɪti 

Vocabulary Practice

Try to remember and fill in the vocabulary from my sample answer:

The ______________ of social networking sites, mainly Facebook and Instagram, in the ______________ have ______________ the ways that people ______________ their friends and community. I am in ______________ that they have had a negative ______________ on both individuals and society.

Social networking sites hurt individuals by ______________ more ______________ of enjoyment with ______________, ______________. In the past, people were more likely to take up an ______________ such as painting, playing a sport or learning a musical instrument. Over time those hobbies ______________, provide hours of enjoyment, and can be seen as active and healthy to ______________. Facebook and Instagram replace not only the time spent on ______________ but users also get ______________ in a ______________ which gives them ______________ of ______________ feelings of accomplishment.

Just as social media has ______________ hurt individuals, it has also ______________ on society. It is a ______________ to hear older people complaining about how generations today are ______________, ______________ to their phones. There is an ______________ in this. Social networking sites, ______________ smartphones, allow people to ______________ and be ______________ in ______________. Over time people will come to feel they have less ______________ their ______________ and society will become ______________ and more ______________ with ______________ political, individual and social ______________.

In conclusion, the rise of social networking platforms has hurt individuals and society greatly. In order to combat this, governments and parents should at least ______________ their ______________ to children and young teens.

Listening Practice

Listen and use these ideas to practice:

Reading Practice

Read the news article below and practice with these ideas:

https://www.wired.com/story/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-15-months-of-fresh-hell/

Student Sample Corrections

Write your questions or comments below!


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