You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
In some countries, young people have become richer, healthier, and live longer, but they are less happy. What are the causes? What can be done to address this situation?
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, particularly in developed countries, the youth of today enjoy longer lives and better health, but are not necessarily happier, despite all the material possessions that they have. I would argue that there is one principal reason why they are not happier, and some steps should be taken to deal with this situation.
The influence of commercial advertising is at the root of the dissatisfaction of today’s youngsters. Young people have become a target audience for the marketing industry,even children of 5 years old or younger. They are swayed by advertisements to adopt the values of the consumer society, possessing more and more things which, they are told, will bring them happiness, such as toys, electronic goods, a McDonald’s burger or the latest fashions. TV channels and online advertising persuade young people to buy goods impulsively. However, all this personal consumption has failed to bring happiness, and the false promises have resulted in disillusionment among young people.
Governments could immediately address this problem. They must introduce restrictions on advertising, and it would be even more effective to impose an official ban on all marketing. National and local authorities should allocate resources to schools to provide opportunities for young people to participate actively in sports or to take up a musical instrument. This will bring much more happiness and social interaction into the lives of today’s youth, rather than being passive individual consumers of everything, from violent video games to junk food. These two measures would certainly help efforts to bring more fulfilment and happiness into the lives of today’s youth.
In conclusion, by taking steps to curb the activities of the marketing industry, governments could help young people to develop into happier citizens of the future.
Vocabulary from media and advertising:
commercial advertising: advertising on the radio or television, between or during programmes.
Example: Commercial advertising on television provides the revenue for most TV channels.
target audience: consumers whom businesses aim at when selling their products
Example: Companies which sell soft drinks, like Coca Cola, aim mainly at a target audience of children and adolescents.
to be swayed by advertisements: to be influenced to buy things as a result of advertising
Example: If consumers were not easily swayed by advertisements, the advertising industry would not exist.
to buy goods impulsively: to buy things suddenly without any planning and without considering the effects they may have
Example: Advertising motivates consumers to buy goods impulsively.
Vocabulary from society:
the consumer society: a society in which buying and selling are considered extremely important
Example: Money and possessions are considered to be more important than family and friends in today’s consumer society.
Vocabulary from government:
to introduce restrictions on: to limit what people can do or what can happen
Example: The government must introduce restrictions on smoking in public places.
to impose an official ban on: to say or declare that something is not allowed
Example: Governments ought to impose an official ban on the use of mobile phones on public transport.
national and local authorities: government organizations acting at a national level or within a smaller, local area
Example: Tackling crime is a responsibility of both national and local authorities.
to allocate resources to: to make money and materials available to do something
Example: If governments allocate more resources to improving public transport, this will reduce the problem of traffic congestion in cities.
Vocabulary from the arts:
to take up a musical instrument: to start to learn to play a musical instrument
Example: Schools should encourage all those children who have an interest to take up a musical instrument.
Vocabulary from food and diet:
junk food: food that is quick and easy to prepare and eat, but that is thought to be bad for your health
Example: The consumption of too much junk food is a major factor in the increase of childhood obesity.
at the root of [expression]: the main cause of something, such as a problem or difficult situation Example: What lies at the root of his problem is his lack of money.
to adopt [verb]: to formally accept a suggestion or policy
Example: The government is expected to adopt the new policy next year.
disillusionment [noun]: disappointment, because the idea that you believed was good and true now seems without value
Example: You can imagine John’s disillusionment when his favourite rock star was put in prison for taking drugs.
to curb [verb]: to control or limit something, especially something bad
Example: There is a new law to curb emissions from cars.