The Question:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:

“Movies and television strongly influence the way people behave?” Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.



This is a sample TOEFL essay written by a native speaker.  It follows our TOEFL writing guidelines for independent essays.  If you find it useful, please remember that we have many more sample essays for you to review.

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Example Independent Essay:

          Most people agree that all forms of entertainment affect every aspect of our society.  In my opinion, movies and televisions really do influence the way that individuals behave. I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

           First of all, films and television provide society with a lot of negative role-models, which many people are willing to emulate. These days, the so-called “anti-hero” is a big part of popular culture. This is a type of character who acts badly towards other people, ignores the rules of society and is generally misanthropic in nature. Commonly, these characters  glorify excessive alcohol consumption and drug use. My own personal experience is a compelling example of this. When I was in high school, a dear friend of mine was a huge fan of characters like this. While he started high school as a straight-A student, he later began to watch a lot of films which gave him the impression that consuming vast quantities of illegal narcotics was amusing and even desirable behavior.  As a result, he barely finished high school and is now unemployed and has few job prospects. Had he not watched so many terrible movies, he would not be in such a desperate position.

           On the other hand, filmed entertainment also provides people with a lot of positive role-models.  For people who desire to watch wholesome shows, there is a tremendous variety of family-friendly options to choose from. Programs of this type showcase functioning and stable families They don’t just show traditional and conservative families, but caring, loving people from many different backgrounds and with many different beliefs.  For instance, my own family often takes inspiration from the parents and children we see on our favorite family drama, “The Bosby Show.”. We are not always able to live up to the ideals presented to us, but they positively influence the way we behave every day.

           In conclusion, I am of the opinion that television and movies influence the way we almost everyone behaves in modern society.  This is because some movies cause us to act in detrimental ways, and because other shows inspire us to emulate positive values. (362 words)