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This is my IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of social networking sites from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Social Networking Sites

Some people think that social networking sites have a huge negative impact on both individuals and society.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many today argue that social media has an overall negative impact on both the average person and society more generally. I am in complete agreement with this opinion as individuals are likely to suffer from an unhealthy addiction and social media can cause fractures in society.

The most obvious effect of social media is on the mental health of individual users. Most people on social media have become to varying degrees addicted to the small dopamine bursts that come from scrolling through their feed, feeling outraged at posts, receiving likes, and making positive or negative comments. Each person is likely to gain satisfaction through a different route but all these self-esteem boosts are unhealthy relative to achieving something in the real world. In some cases, individuals retreat from the real world in favor of a virtual one where the stakes are considerably lower and interactions are safely one-sided.

Additionally, the drawbacks of social media are evident throughout society. There are numerous small groups and communities on Facebook that encourage anti-social impulses. For instance, many people post and read about conspiracy theories online on a daily basis. Over time, these individuals begin to feel isolated from mainstream society and the effects of this can appear during real-world events such as the January 6 insurrection and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Although these actions can be interpreted as protests, the viewpoints being expressed are often too extreme to lead to defensible and pragmatic reform.

In conclusion, social media is an overwhelming negative for both normal citizens and the entirety of society. Since governments are averse to regulation, it is important for individuals to abandon these platforms.

Analysis

1. Many today argue that social media has an overall negative impact on both the average person and society more generally. 2. I am in complete agreement with this opinion as individuals are likely to suffer from an unhealthy addiction and social media can cause fractures in society.

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

1. The most obvious effect of social media is on the mental health of individual users. 2. Most people on social media have become to varying degrees addicted to the small dopamine bursts that come from scrolling through their feed, feeling outraged at posts, receiving likes, and making positive or negative comments. 3. Each person is likely to gain satisfaction through a different route but all these self-esteem boosts are unhealthy relative to achieving something in the real world. 4. In some cases, individuals retreat from the real world in favor of a virtual one where the stakes are considerably lower and interactions are safely one-sided.

  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.

1. Additionally, the drawbacks of social media are evident throughout society. 2. There are numerous small groups and communities on Facebook that encourage anti-social impulses. 3. For instance, many people post and read about conspiracy theories online on a daily basis. 4. Over time, these individuals begin to feel isolated from mainstream society and the effects of this can appear during real-world events such as the January 6 insurrection and the Occupy Wall Street movement. 5. Although these actions can be interpreted as protests, the viewpoints being expressed are often too extreme to lead to defensible and pragmatic reform.

  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. This paragraph can be longer.

1. In conclusion, social media is an overwhelming negative for both normal citizens and the entirety of society. 2. Since governments are averse to regulation, it is important for individuals to abandon these platforms.

  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.

Many today argue that social media has an overall negative impact on both the average person and society more generally. I am in complete agreement with this opinion as individuals are likely to suffer from an unhealthy addiction and social media can cause fractures in society.

The most obvious effect of social media is on the mental health of individual users. Most people on social media have become to varying degrees addicted to the small dopamine bursts that come from scrolling through their feed, feeling outraged at posts, receiving likes, and making positive or negative comments. Each person is likely to gain satisfaction through a different route but all these self-esteem boosts are unhealthy relative to achieving something in the real world. In some cases, individuals retreat from the real world in favor of a virtual one where the stakes are considerably lower and interactions are safely one-sided.

Additionally, the drawbacks of social media are evident throughout society. There are numerous small groups and communities on Facebook that encourage anti-social impulses. For instance, many people post and read about conspiracy theories online on a daily basis. Over time, these individuals begin to feel isolated from mainstream society and the effects of this can appear during real-world events such as the January 6 insurrection and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Although these actions can be interpreted as protests, the viewpoints being expressed are often too extreme to lead to defensible and pragmatic reform.

In conclusion, social media is an overwhelming negative for both normal citizens and the entirety of society. Since governments are averse to regulation, it is important for individuals to abandon these platforms.

Answers

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

social media has an overall negative impact on both the average person websites like Facebook hurt most people generally

society more generally all people in a country

I am in complete agreement with this opinion I agree 100%

likely to suffer from probably will be hurt by

unhealthy addiction not a good habit

cause fractures separate people

The most obvious effect of clearest result is

mental health emotional stability

varying degrees addicted to different amounts can’t stop using

small dopamine bursts little bits of pleasure

scrolling through their feed looking through social media

feeling outraged at posts be angry about social media

receiving likes getting thumbs up / love on a post

making positive or negative comments writing good and bad comments

gain satisfaction through a different route feel good in a different way

self-esteem boosts feeling good about yourself

unhealthy relative to achieving something in the real world not good for you compared to doing things in real life

In some cases sometimes

retreat from stop using

in favor of a virtual one caring more about online life

stakes are considerably lower situation is less risky

interactions talking to people

safely one-sided not interacting

Additionally also

drawbacks downsides

evident throughout clear the whole time

numerous small groups and communities many online clubs

encourage anti-social impulses promote being alone

conspiracy theories online on a daily basis crazy ideas every day

Over time as time goes on

feel isolated from mainstream society not feel part of the public discourse

appear during real-world events such as happen in real-life examples including

January 6 insurrection protest in the United States

Occupy Wall Street movement another protest in the United States

actions steps taken

interpreted as protests seen as freedom of speech

viewpoints opinions

expressed said

too extreme to lead to defensible too strong to result in good

pragmatic reform practical change

overwhelming negative for clearly bad for

normal citizens average people

entirety of all of

averse to regulation not interested in making laws

abandon these platforms stop using social media

Pronunciation

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

ˈsəʊʃəl ˈmiːdiə hæz ən ˈəʊvərɔːl ˈnɛgətɪv ˈɪmpækt ɒn bəʊθ ði ˈævərɪʤ ˈpɜːsn 
səˈsaɪəti mɔː ˈʤɛnərəli
aɪ æm ɪn kəmˈpliːt əˈgriːmənt wɪð ðɪs əˈpɪnjən 
ˈlaɪkli tuː ˈsʌfə frɒm 
ʌnˈhɛlθi əˈdɪkʃ(ə)n 
kɔːz ˈfrækʧəz 
ðə məʊst ˈɒbvɪəs ɪˈfɛkt ɒv 
ˈmɛntl hɛlθ 
ˈveəriɪŋ dɪˈgriːz əˈdɪktɪd tuː 
smɔːl ˈdəʊpəmiːn bɜːsts 
ˈskrəʊlɪŋ θruː ðeə fiːd
ˈfiːlɪŋ ˈaʊtreɪʤd æt pəʊsts
rɪˈsiːvɪŋ laɪks
ˈmeɪkɪŋ ˈpɒzətɪv ɔː ˈnɛgətɪv ˈkɒmɛnts
geɪn ˌsætɪsˈfækʃən θruː ə ˈdɪfrənt ruːt 
sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm buːsts 
ʌnˈhɛlθi ˈrɛlətɪv tuː əˈʧiːvɪŋ ˈsʌmθɪŋ ɪn ðə rɪəl wɜːldɪn sʌm ˈkeɪsɪz
rɪˈtriːt frɒm 
ɪn ˈfeɪvər ɒv ə ˈvɜːtjʊəl wʌn 
steɪks ɑː kənˈsɪdərəbli ˈləʊə 
ˌɪntərˈækʃənz 
ˈseɪfli wʌn-ˈsaɪdɪd
əˈdɪʃənli
ˈdrɔːbæks 
ˈɛvɪdənt θru(ː)ˈaʊt 
ˈnjuːmərəs smɔːl gruːps ænd kəˈmjuːnɪtiz 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ ˈænti-ˈsəʊʃəl ˈɪmpʌlsɪz
kənˈspɪrəsi ˈθɪəriz ˈɒnˌlaɪn ɒn ə ˈdeɪli ˈbeɪsɪs
ˈəʊvə taɪm
fiːl ˈaɪsəleɪtɪd frɒm ˈmeɪnstriːm səˈsaɪəti 
əˈpɪə ˈdjʊərɪŋ rɪəl-wɜːld ɪˈvɛnts sʌʧ æz 
ˈʤænjʊəri siks ˌɪnsəˈrɛkʃən 
ˈɒkjʊpaɪ wɔːl striːt ˈmuːvmənt
ˈækʃ(ə)nz 
ɪnˈtɜːprɪtɪd æz ˈprəʊtɛsts
ˈvjuːpɔɪnts 
ɪksˈprɛst 
tuː ɪksˈtriːm tuː liːd tuː dɪˈfɛnsəbl 
prægˈmætɪk ˌriːˈfɔːm
ˌəʊvəˈwɛlmɪŋ ˈnɛgətɪv fɔː 
ˈnɔːməl ˈsɪtɪznz 
ɪnˈtaɪəti ɒv 
əˈvɜːs tuː ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃən
əˈbændən ðiːz ˈplætfɔːmz

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:

Many today argue that s_____________________________________________________________________n and s__________________________________y. I_____________________________________________n as individuals are l___________________m an u_____________________n and social media can c_________________s in society.

T________________________________f social media is on the m_________________h of individual users. Most people on social media have become to v__________________________o the s__________________s that come from s___________________________d, f_______________________________s, r__________________s, and m___________________________s. Each person is likely to g___________________________________e but all these s_______________________s are u__________________________________________________d. I____________________s, individuals r______________m the real world i____________________________________e where the s______________________________r and i____________s are s____________________d.

A________________y, the d________________s of social media are e_________________t society. There are n_____________________________________________s on Facebook that e_____________________________________s. For instance, many people post and read about c_________________________________________________s. O_______e, these individuals begin to f___________________________________y and the effects of this can a_____________________________________s the J__________________________________n and the O_______________________________t. Although these a_________s can be i_____________________s, the v_______________s being e___________d are often t________________________________e and p______________m.

In conclusion, social media is an o_____________________________r both n________________s and the e________________f society. Since governments are a__________________________n, it is important for individuals to a_______________________s.

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://time.com/6240981/social-media-addiction-app/

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:

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?


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