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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from the new Cambridge IELTS 17 book of past test papers on the topic of children spending hours of their smartphones.

You can read essays and guides for the other IELTS Cambridge books, including Cambridge 17, here:

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 17

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 16

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 15

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 14

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 13

Dave

IELTS Cambridge 17 Essay: Smartphones

Some children spend hours every day on smartphones.

Why is this the case?

Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

These days, children are spending more and more hours each day using smartphones. In my opinion, this is a natural consequence of the ubiquity of phones and is a decidedly negative phenomenon.

The main cause of this trend is access to portable devices. Since the introduction of the original iPhone, countless phone manufacturers have imitated Apple’s innovation and virtually every family possesses multiple devices. The owners of these phones are typically over-worked and stressed parents who are often willing to allow their children to use their smartphones to listen to music, watch movies, and keep themselves entertained. In many parts of the world, parents even purchase phones specifically for their children to use. The increased hours children spend on phones is therefore a combination of tremendous access coupled with a natural desire to use them.

The main repercussions from increased smartphone usage among children are negative. Firstly, smartphones have replaced healthier habits. Children raised before the advent of the portable smartphone were more likely to read books, socialize with friends, and take part in outdoor activities. These practices are all far healthier physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Moreover, the usage of phones itself is actively detrimental to normal cognitive development. Many researchers have theorized that the 21st century spike in cases of dissociative anxiety disorders can be directly correlated with the technological age in general and smartphones more specifically.

In conclusion, children use smartphones for hours every day because of their availability and the result of this is a steep decline in healthy lifestyles. As governments cannot restrict such usage, it is the responsibility of parents to effectively regulate screen time for their children.

Analysis

1. These days, children are spending more and more hours each day using smartphones. 2. In my opinion, this is a natural consequence of the ubiquity of phones and is a decidedly negative phenomenon.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. The main cause of this trend is access to portable devices. 2. Since the introduction of the original iPhone, countless phone manufacturers have imitated Apple’s innovation and virtually every family possesses multiple devices. 3. The owners of these phones are typically over-worked and stressed parents who are often willing to allow their children to use their smartphones to listen to music, watch movies, and keep themselves entertained. 4. In many parts of the world, parents even purchase phones specifically for their children to use. 5. The increased hours children spend on phones is therefore a combination of tremendous access coupled with a natural desire to use them.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Short sentences can make your writing clearer.

1. The main repercussions from increased smartphone usage among children are negative. 2. Firstly, smartphones have replaced healthier habits. 3. Children raised before the advent of the portable smartphone were more likely to read books, socialize with friends, and take part in outdoor activities. 4. These practices are all far healthier physically, intellectually, and emotionally. 5. Moreover, the usage of phones itself is actively detrimental to normal cognitive development. 6. Many researchers have theorized that the 21st century spike in cases of dissociative anxiety disorders can be directly correlated with the technological age in general and smartphones more specifically.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Finish the paragraph strong.
  6. Use complex and simple sentences.

1. In conclusion, children use smartphones for hours every day because of their availability and the result of this is a steep decline in healthy lifestyles. 2. As governments cannot restrict such usage, it is the responsibility of parents to effectively regulate screen time for their children.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

These days, children are spending more and more hours each day using smartphones. In my opinion, this is a natural consequence of the ubiquity of phones and is a decidedly negative phenomenon.

The main cause of this trend is access to portable devices. Since the introduction of the original iPhone, countless phone manufacturers have imitated Apple’s innovation and virtually every family possesses multiple devices. The owners of these phones are typically over-worked and stressed parents who are often willing to allow their children to use their smartphones to listen to music, watch movies, and keep themselves entertained. In many parts of the world, parents even purchase phones specifically for their children to use. The increased hours children spend on phones is therefore a combination of tremendous access coupled with a natural desire to use them.

The main repercussions from increased smartphone usage among children are negative. Firstly, smartphones have replaced healthier habits. Children raised before the advent of the portable smartphone were more likely to read books, socialize with friends, and take part in outdoor activities. These practices are all far healthier physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Moreover, the usage of phones itself is actively detrimental to normal cognitive development. Many researchers have theorized that the 21st century spike in cases of dissociative anxiety disorders can be directly correlated with the technological age in general and smartphones more specifically.

In conclusion, children use smartphones for hours every day because of their availability and the result of this is a steep decline in healthy lifestyles. As governments cannot restrict such usage, it is the responsibility of parents to effectively regulate screen time for their children.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

these days today

smartphones cell phones, iPhones, etc.

natural consequence normal result

ubiquity how common they are

decidedly negative phenomenon definitely bad

cause result in

trend pattern

access ability to use

portable devices smartphones

introduction release

original first

countless phone manufacturers many different phone maters

imitated copied

Apple’s innovation invention by the company Apple

virtually essentially

possesses multiple devices have smartphones

owners people who have them

typically normally

over-worked too busy

stressed worried about

often willing typically will do

allow permit

keep themselves entertained allow themselves to be distracted

In many parts of the world in various countries

purchase buy

specifically in particular

increased hours more time

therefore thus

combination putting together

tremendous access more ability to use

coupled with combined with

natural desire normal want

main repercussions major effect

smartphone usage using phones

replaced healthier habits take the place of better actions

raised grew up

advent beginning of

portable smartphone phones you can carry with you

socialize spend time with others

take part in participate in

outdoor activities doing things outside

practices actions, habits

physically related to the body

intellectually related to the mind

emotionally related to feelings

actively detrimental really hurts

normal cognitive development healthy mental growth

theorized argued

21st century 2000 – 2100

spike increase

in cases of when it comes to

dissociative anxiety disorders mental conditions

correlated with a result of

technological age information age

in general overall

more specifically in particular

availability can be used

steep decline in big fall in

healthy lifestyles living healthy

restrict forbid

responsibility duty

effectively well done

regulate control

screen time the time spent using a device

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ðiːz deɪz
ˈsmɑːtfəʊnz
ˈnæʧrəl ˈkɒnsɪkwəns 
ju(ː)ˈbɪkwɪti 
dɪˈsaɪdɪdli ˈnɛgətɪv fɪˈnɒmɪnən
kɔːz 
trɛnd 
ˈæksɛs 
ˈpɔːtəbl dɪˈvaɪsɪz
ˌɪntrəˈdʌkʃən 
əˈrɪʤənl 
ˈkaʊntlɪs fəʊn ˌmænjʊˈfækʧərəz 
ˈɪmɪteɪtɪd 
ˈæplz ˌɪnəʊˈveɪʃən 
ˈvɜːtjʊəli 
pəˈzɛsɪz ˈmʌltɪpl dɪˈvaɪsɪz 
ˈəʊnəz 
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li 
ˈəʊvə-wɜːkt 
strɛst 
ˈɒf(ə)n ˈwɪlɪŋ 
əˈlaʊ 
kiːp ðəmˈsɛlvz ˌɛntəˈteɪnd
ɪn ˈmɛni pɑːts ɒv ðə wɜːld
ˈpɜːʧəs 
spəˈsɪfɪk(ə)li 
ɪnˈkriːst ˈaʊəz 
ˈðeəfɔː 
ˌkɒmbɪˈneɪʃən 
trɪˈmɛndəs ˈæksɛs 
ˈkʌpld wɪð 
ˈnæʧrəl dɪˈzaɪə 
meɪn ˌriːpɜːˈkʌʃənz 
ˈsmɑːtfəʊn ˈjuːzɪʤ 
rɪˈpleɪst ˈhɛlθɪə ˈhæbɪts
reɪzd 
ˈædvənt 
ˈpɔːtəbl ˈsmɑːtfəʊn 
ˈsəʊʃəlaɪz 
teɪk pɑːt ɪn 
ˈaʊtdɔːr ækˈtɪvɪtiz 
ˈpræktɪsɪz 
ˈfɪzɪkəli
ˌɪntɪˈlɛktjʊəli 
ɪˈməʊʃənli
ˈæktɪvli ˌdɛtrɪˈmɛntl 
ˈnɔːməl ˈkɒgnɪtɪv dɪˈvɛləpmənt
ˈθɪəraɪzd 
ˈtwɛnti fɜːst ˈsɛnʧʊri 
spaɪk 
ɪn ˈkeɪsɪz ɒv 
dɪˈsəʊsɪətɪv æŋˈzaɪəti dɪsˈɔːdəz 
ˈkɒrɪleɪtɪd wɪð 
ˌtɛknəˈlɒʤɪk(ə)l eɪʤ 
ɪn ˈʤɛnərəl 
mɔː spəˈsɪfɪk(ə)li
əˌveɪləˈbɪlɪti 
stiːp dɪˈklaɪn ɪn 
ˈhɛlθi ˈlaɪfˌstaɪlz
rɪsˈtrɪkt 
rɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪti 
ɪˈfɛktɪvli 
ˈrɛgjʊleɪt 
skriːn taɪm 

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

T__________s, children are spending more and more hours each day using s________s. In my opinion, this is a natural c____________e of the u________y of phones and is a d__________________________n.

The main c______e of this t______d is a______s to p____________s. Since the i___________n of the o________l iPhone, c_________________________s have i______________________n and v________y every family p________________________s. The o___________s of these phones are t_________y o______________d and s__________d parents who are o______________g to a_______w their children to use their smartphones to listen to music, watch movies, and k__________________________d. I_____________________________d, parents even p__________e phones s__________y for their children to use. The i___________________s children spend on phones is t___________e a c____________n of t____________________s c_____________h a n_________________e to use them.

The m_______________________s from increased s___________________e among children are negative. Firstly, smartphones have r________________________s. Children r_______d before the a_______t of the p__________________e were more likely to read books, s__________e with friends, and t_______________n o_______________s. These p_______s are all far healthier p__________________y, i______________y, and e___________y. Moreover, the usage of phones itself is a______________________l to n____________________________t. Many researchers have t__________d that the 2______________y s____________n c__________f d____________________________s can be directly c_____________h the t___________________l and smartphones m________________y.

In conclusion, children use smartphones for hours every day because of their a________y and the result of this is a s__________________n h_________________s. As governments cannot r_________t such usage, it is the r_____________y of parents to e_________y r________e s_________e for their children.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching from YouTube below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-do-smartphones-affect-childhood-psychology

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Mobile Phones and Smartphones

  1. What are the advantages of smartphones?
  2. Should children be allowed to own smartphones?
  3. Do you thinks have a major or minor impact on mental health?
  4. Where in your country is it not appropriate to use a phone?
  5. Do you think smartphone usage may decline in the future?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topics below:

Some people believe that smartphones are destroying social interaction today.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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