Updated: Feb 15, 2019
It is worrying that so many children spend so much time on smartphones and other electronic devices. Do you agree or disagree?
During the last decade or so there has been an unprecedented rise in the amount of time youngsters spend interacting with modern technology. In my childhood, it would have been unthinkable for primary-school children and even those going to nursery to stare at their screen for hours, chat through social media and download games. Although the benefits of these devices should be recognised, I find it concerning that they seem to dominate childhood.
The first point which needs making relates to social development. Although youngsters on smartphones certainly communicate with their peers, they are probably not learning key interpersonal skills needed in later life. Technology does not allow them to negotiate, empathise or express themselves in the complex ways possible through face-to-face contact. For instance, my young cousin struggles to have a meaningful discussion because, as far as I can tell, he only knows how to make himself understood through short messages and images on social media websites.
A related concern is cognitive development. The truth is that although neurologists and child psychologists have carried out experiments and done thousands of brain scans, we have practically no idea how long-term exposure to electronic devices will affect the behaviour or health of schoolchildren when they mature. It may be scare-mongering to suggest that we are raising a generation of brain-dead automatons but, until the current generation reaches adulthood, there is no way of knowing. Many parents are genuinely worried by their sons’ and daughters’ over-use of technology but feel a great deal of social pressure to let their children use smartphones.
My considered opinion is that this trend is deeply troubling. Of course it reflects how adults behave in contemporary society but the risks involved with pre-teens in particular are massive. I would urge the authorities to ban excessive use of smartphones for all pre-adolescents until we can establish a clear and unequivocal picture of what harm they cause.
an unprecedented rise = a rise that has never been seen/experienced before
peers = a person of the same age, status, or ability as another specified person
interpersonal skills = the ability to communicate or interact well with other people
in later life = when they are older
cognitive development = the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood
long-term exposure to = using them for a long period of time
automatons = a person who seems to act in a mechanical or unemotional way
my considered opinion = an opinion or decision that someone has reached after a lot of thought
deeply troubling = very worrying
unequivocal = leaving no doubt; unambiguous; unmistakable
Task Response: This essay fully answers the question. The candidate is asked for an opinion and gives a strong opinion in the introduction. This opinion is supported by two relevant arguments in paragraphs 2 and 3. The arguments are supported by explanation and an example taken from the writer’s own knowledge and experience.
In IELTS writing, the examiner is looking for collocations or other groups of words which a native-speaker would put together. When candidates use these expressions, the examiner can see that they have a high level of English and that they can write in a similar way to a native-speaker. This essay contains a lot of these phrases.