You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
The use of social media is replacing face-to-face interaction among many people in society. Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
It is true that more and more people all over the world rely on social networking sites to keep in touch with people that they know. While there are some positive aspects of this trend, I believe that overall the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.
On the one hand, there are two clear advantages of using social media rather than depending on face-to-face communication. Firstly, in the modern world, families and friends may often be scattered across the globe, due to work or study commitments, for example. Large family gatherings may be impossible to organise and, without the existence of social media, a decline in communication with relatives and close friends
might result. Secondly, thanks to sites like Facebook or Linkedin, it is now possible to keep in touch with a large number of people, sharing photos, making small talk and exchanging news. Many people have hundreds of followers on their Facebook page, for instance.
On the other hand, I would argue that there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. One reason is that social media discourage real interaction and prevent people from developing social skills. Humans use all their senses in order to communicate fully, such as touch and gestures. Also, despite advances in technology, face-to-face interaction avoids some of the dangers of social media. These include computer hackers and online scams, stealing personal information on networking sites. For example, if I announce on Facebook that I will be going abroad on holiday, I may return to find my house has been burgled.
In conclusion, although most people can now access the internet and social media are widely used, I consider that the drawbacks of lack of personal contact – compared with face-to-face interaction – and issues of privacy outweigh the advantages.
Vocabulary from communication and personality:
social networking sites: a website on which you communicate with people who share your interests
Example: Young people today waste too much time on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
to make small talk/to exchange pleasantries: to talk in a polite way about unimportant matters such as the weather
Example: I enjoy a serious discussion and I don’t like to make small talk or exchange pleasantries with others simply in order to be polite.
Vocabulary from family and children:
a family gathering: a meeting of family members for a particular purpose
Example: In traditional societies, family gatherings are common to celebrate special occasions.
Vocabulary from technology:
to discourage real interaction: to result in less face-to-face communication with other people
Example: the availability of new communication technologies may also have the result of isolating people and discouraging real interaction.
advances in technology: the improvement or development in technology
Example: Recent advances in medical technology are making a great contribution to the search for a cure for Aids.
computer hackers: people who find a way of looking at or changing information secretly on somebody’s computer system
Example: One disadvantage of computers is that computer hackers may be able to discover your personal details, such as bank account information.
online scams: clever and dishonest plans using the internet in order to make money.
Example: Many internet users have been victims of online scams, paying money for goods or services that do not exist or are worthless.
to gain access to the internet/to access the internet: to have the opportunity to use the internet
Example: Millions of people are able to access the internet in cafes, libraries or other public places.
Vocabulary from society:
to develop social skills: to become better at communicating and interacting in different situations
Example: Playing team sports at school helps children to develop social skills which will help them in adult life.
scattered [adjective]: spread far apart over a wide area or over a long period of time
Example: Her family are scattered around the world, in India, Africa and South America.
to keep in touch with [expression]: to communicate with somebody
Example: When you go to the USA to study, let’s keep in touch.
gesture [noun]: a movement that you make with your hands, your head or your face to show a particular meaning
Example: He made a rude gesture to the teacher, who told him to leave the classroom.
to burgle [verb]: to enter a building illegally, usually using force, and stealing from it
Example: The house next door was burgled, but the police caught the robbers as they were running away.
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