TOEFL writing sample
7. How do movies or television influence people's behavior? Use reasons
and specific examples to support your answer.
Do movies and television affect our behavior? A special concern is
whether movies and television make children and society more violent. I
believe that movies and television do influence our behavior, both for
the better and for the worse.
Movies do make people more violent. The more we see violent acts on
television, the less sensitive we become to them: Eventually violence
doesn't seem wrong. We may even commit violent acts ourselves. This is
especially true because we don't always realize that violence has
consequences. Actors can be killed and come back for another movie.
Sometimes we confuse that with reality. We forget that killing someone
Movies and television also influence our behavior because they make us
less active. Looking at films is a passive activity. If we watch too
much, we become unhealthy, both mentally and physically. We stop using
our own imagination when we see things acted out for us. Mental laziness
becomes physical laziness; we'd rather watch sports on TV than play
sports ourselves. We'd rather visit with the characters on "Seinfeld" or
"Friends" than go chat with our own neighbors. Imaginary people have
exciting lives. Is it any wonder that some people would rather live a
fantasy life than their own?
Of course, watching movies and television can also be good for us. It
can give us a broader window on the world. For example, seeing movies
can expose us to people of different races and cultures. We can then
overcome some prejudices more easily. Recently there have been more
handicapped people in films, and this also helps reduce prejudice.
The best influence on our behavior is that movies and television reduce
stress. Watching films, we can escape our own problems for a little
while. Also, sometime movies show positive ways to resolve problems we
all face. While TV and movies shouldn't be a way to hide from life,
sometimes they can help us cope.
It is true that movies and television can influence our behavior
negatively. However, I also believe that they influence our behavior in
positive ways. How they affect you depends on how much you watch, what
you watch, and how you respond to what you watch.