TOEFL writing sample
8. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television has
destroyed communication among friends and family. Use specific reasons
and examples to support your opinion.
Some people believe that television has destroyed communication among
friends and family. I think this is an exaggeration. In my opinion,
whether or not television hurts communication depends on what type of
program is being viewed. More importantly, it depends on the type of
There are empty programs and educational programs. Empty programs do not
challenge people. They have just enough storyline to keep them from
switching channels. There are also passive and active viewers. A passive
viewer will just watch television without thinking about what he or she
is seeing. The combination of an empty program and a passive viewer
makes communication unlikely. Passive viewers just continue to watch,
actually enjoying the fact that they don't have to think. They won't
break away to talk about programming with friends and family. Even with
better programming, passive viewers still won't think or communicate
much. They'll probably even prefer the empty programs because the better
programming is too much work.
On the other hand, active viewers watching educational programming
always want to share what they see with friends and family.
"Educational" doesn't necessarily mean documentaries on PBS. They could
be dramas with realistic relationships or action shows with clever
plotlines. When active viewers watch programs, they have ideas and talk
about them with others. Good programming inspires them to change their
thinking and their lives. Unlike passive viewers, they don't want to
watch more and more without thinking.
Television may destroy communication among passive viewers. Those
viewers probably don't want to communicate with friends and family much
anyway. For active viewers who already enjoy communicating, television
is actually helpful!