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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of advertising to children from the real exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Advertising to Children

In some countries, there has been an increase in the number of advertisements which try to persuade children to buy snacks, toys, and other goods. Parents often claim that these ads are unfair.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Some are of the opinion that it is unethical to advertise to children. In my opinion, although at certain ages these advertisements should be permitted, in general children are too vulnerable a segment of the population.

Those who argue in favor of advertising to children point out it is not necessarily unfair. There are situations when even these proponents would concede advertising is exploitive, such as when there are commercials for cereals with high sugar content during cartoon shows. However, this is only a single instance. Many children, especially as they get older, are capable of thinking rationally, controlling their need for instant gratification, and would therefore like to be informed about new products they are interested in. If a child who is 10 years old sees an advertisement for a water park or sporting event, they might convince their parents to enjoy a fun, outdoors activity.

Nonetheless, most children are negatively impacted by advertisements as they lack self-control. Adults are more capable of inhibiting their desires while children are not experienced enough and their cognitive development does not allow for higher-order reasoning. For instance, if a young child sees an advertisement for alcohol or a violent videogame, there is a strong likelihood they will want to try it. Even if they do not actually get an opportunity to use an age-inappropriate product, the appeal of these products has already been deeply implanted. Recent research supports the contention that habits and impressions formed in early childhood are harder to leave behind later in life.

In conclusion, despite the feasibility of certain advertisements for older children, most marketing directed at impressionable children should be banned. This will be a difficult process to manage but many countries have undertaken it already.

Analysis

1. Some are of the opinion that it is unethical to advertise to children. 2. In my opinion, although at certain ages these advertisements should be permitted, in general children are too vulnerable a segment of the population.

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

1. Those who argue in favor of advertising to children point out it is not necessarily unfair. 2. There are situations when even these proponents would concede advertising is exploitive, such as when there are commercials for cereals with high sugar content during cartoon shows. 3. However, this is only a single instance. 4. Many children, especially as they get older, are capable of thinking rationally, controlling their need for instant gratification, and would therefore like to be informed about new products they are interested in. 5. If a child who is 10 years old sees an advertisement for a water park or sporting event, they might convince their parents to enjoy a fun, outdoors activity.

  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. Finish development.

1. Nonetheless, most children are negatively impacted by advertisements as they lack self-control. 2. Adults are more capable of inhibiting their desires while children are not experienced enough and their cognitive development does not allow for higher-order reasoning. 3. For instance, if a young child sees an advertisement for alcohol or a violent videogame, there is a strong likelihood they will want to try it. 4. Even if they do not actually get an opportunity to use an age-inappropriate product, the appeal of these products has already been deeply implanted. 5. Recent research supports the contention that habits and impressions formed in early childhood are harder to leave behind later in life.

  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. Develop the example fully.

1. In conclusion, despite the feasibility of certain advertisements for older children, most marketing directed at impressionable children should be banned. 2. This will be a difficult process to manage but many countries have undertaken it already.

  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.

Some are of the opinion that it is unethical to advertise to children. In my opinion, although at certain ages these advertisements should be permitted, in general children are too vulnerable a segment of the population.

Those who argue in favor of advertising to children point out it is not necessarily unfair. There are situations when even these proponents would concede advertising is exploitive, such as when there are commercials for cereals with high sugar content during cartoon shows. However, this is only a single instance. Many children, especially as they get older, are capable of thinking rationally, controlling their need for instant gratification, and would therefore like to be informed about new products they are interested in. If a child who is 10 years old sees an advertisement for a water park or sporting event, they might convince their parents to enjoy a fun, outdoors activity.

Nonetheless, most children are negatively impacted by advertisements as they lack self-control. Adults are more capable of inhibiting their desires while children are not experienced enough and their cognitive development does not allow for higher-order reasoning. For instance, if a young child sees an advertisement for alcohol or a violent videogame, there is a strong likelihood they will want to try it. Even if they do not actually get an opportunity to use an age-inappropriate product, the appeal of these products has already been deeply implanted. Recent research supports the contention that habits and impressions formed in early childhood are harder to leave behind later in life.

In conclusion, despite the feasibility of certain advertisements for older children, most marketing directed at impressionable children should be banned. This will be a difficult process to manage but many countries have undertaken it already.

Answers

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

some are of the opinion that certain people think

unethical not moral, immoral

certain ages particular times in life

permitted allowed

in general overall

vulnerable susceptible

segment part

those who argue in favor of people who support

point out argue

not necessarily unfair don’t have to be unethical

situations contexts

proponents those in favor of

concede admit

exploitive take advantage of

commercials ads on TV

cereals breakfast food

high sugar content too sweet

cartoon shows animated TV programming

single instance one example

especially in particular

capable are able to

rationally reasonably

controlling in charge of

instant gratification just wanting pleasure right away

therefore thus

informed know about

interested in care about

water park place to go on slides and other water rides

sporting event matches, games

convince persuade

outdoors outside

nonetheless still

negatively impacted badly hurt

lack self-control can’t control their own desires, impulses

capable able to

inhibiting controlling

desires what you want to do

not experienced enough too immature

cognitive development how the brain develops

allow for higher-order reasoning can think critically

strong likelihood good chance of

opportunity chance

age-inappropriate not suitable for that age

appeal desire

deeply implanted becomes a part of you

recent research supports the contention new studies also say that

habits actions you do over a long time

impressions formed in early childhood things you remember from when you are young

leave behind later in life forget about as you get older

despite regardless of

feasibility how possible it is

marketing directed at impressionable ads taking advantage of vulnerable

banned not permitted

difficult process to manage hard to actually implement

undertaken done by

Pronunciation

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

sʌm ɑːr ɒv ði əˈpɪnjən ðæt 
ˌʌnˈɛθɪkəl 
ˈsɜːtn ˈeɪʤɪz 
pəˈmɪtɪd
ɪn ˈʤɛnərəl 
ˈvʌlnərəbl 
ˈsɛgmənt 
ðəʊz huː ˈɑːgjuː ɪn ˈfeɪvər ɒv 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
nɒt ˈnɛsɪsərɪli ʌnˈfeə
ˌsɪtjʊˈeɪʃənz 
prəˈpəʊnənts 
kənˈsiːd 
ˈɛksplɔɪtɪv
kəˈmɜːʃəlz 
ˈsɪərɪəlz 
haɪ ˈʃʊgə ˈkɒntɛnt 
kɑːˈtuːn ʃəʊz
ˈsɪŋgl ˈɪnstəns
ɪsˈpɛʃəli 
ˈkeɪpəbl 
ˈræʃnəli
kənˈtrəʊlɪŋ 
ˈɪnstənt ˌgrætɪfɪˈkeɪʃən
ˈðeəfɔː 
ɪnˈfɔːmd 
ˈɪntrɪstɪd ɪn
ˈwɔːtə pɑːk 
ˈspɔːtɪŋ ɪˈvɛnt
kənˈvɪns 
ˌaʊtˈdɔːz 
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
ˈnɛgətɪvli ɪmˈpæktɪd 
læk sɛlf-kənˈtrəʊl
ˈkeɪpəbl 
ɪnˈhɪbɪtɪŋ 
dɪˈzaɪəz 
nɒt ɪksˈpɪərɪənst ɪˈnʌf 
ˈkɒgnɪtɪv dɪˈvɛləpmənt 
əˈlaʊ fɔː ˈhaɪər-ˈɔːdə ˈriːznɪŋ
strɒŋ ˈlaɪklɪhʊd 
ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti 
eɪʤ-ˌɪnəˈprəʊprɪɪt 
əˈpiːl 
ˈdiːpli ɪmˈplɑːntɪd
ˈriːsnt rɪˈsɜːʧ səˈpɔːts ðə kənˈtɛnʃən 
ˈhæbɪts 
ɪmˈprɛʃənz fɔːmd ɪn ˈɜːli ˈʧaɪldhʊd 
liːv bɪˈhaɪnd ˈleɪtər ɪn laɪf
dɪsˈpaɪt 
ˌfiːzəˈbɪlɪti 
ˈmɑːkɪtɪŋ dɪˈrɛktɪd æt ɪmˈprɛʃnəbl 
bænd
ˈdɪfɪkəlt ˈprəʊsɛs tuː ˈmænɪʤ 
ˌʌndəˈteɪkən 

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:

S______________________________t it is u_________l to advertise to children. In my opinion, although at c_____________s these advertisements should be p_____________d, i________l children are too v___________e a s________t of the population.

T________________________________f advertising to children p______________t it is n________________________r. There are s____________s when even these p____________s would c__________e advertising is e___________e, such as when there are c_______________s for c_________s with h_________________________t during c_____________s. However, this is only a s___________________e. Many children, e________y as they get older, are c__________e of thinking r_______________y, c___________g their need for i__________________n, and would t____________e like to be i______________d about new products they are i_______________n. If a child who is 10 years old sees an advertisement for a w______________k or s_____________t, they might c_______e their parents to enjoy a fun, o________s activity.

N_____________s, most children are n__________________d by advertisements as they l______________l. Adults are more c__________e of i_________g their d_______s while children are n______________________h and their c_______________________t does not a____________________________g. For instance, if a young child sees an advertisement for alcohol or a violent videogame, there is a s__________________d they will want to try it. Even if they do not actually get an o_____________y to use an a_____________________e product, the a________l of these products has already been d________________d. R____________________________________n that h______s and i__________________________________d are harder to l______________________________________e.

In conclusion, d_______e the f_____________y of certain advertisements for older children, most m____________________________________e children should be b________d. This will be a d________________________________e but many countries have u___________n it already.

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://www.stuff.co.nz/national/127531009/harmful-advertising-heavily-outweighs-childrens-exposure-to-branding-study-finds

Speaking Practice

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

Advertising

  1. What kind of ads are common in your country?
  2. Do you think companies should be allowed to advertise to children?
  3. Are there laws regulating ads where you live?
  4. What makes a good advertisement?
  5. Will ads still be useful and common in the future?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some people think that there should be a complete ban on all forms of advertising.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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