The Social Dilemma: A Lesson on Social Media (Advanced)

ESL Level: Advanced (Upper-intermediate here)
Lesson Topic: The health and societal risks of social media use
Skill Focus
: Speaking, Reading, Vocabulary
Lesson Plan Download: social-media-dilemma-upper-advanced-01103020.docx
Approximate Class Time: 3.5 hours


  • Teachers, this lesson is longer and denser than usual. Pick the activities that you feel will work for your class. This lesson summarizes the key ideas of The Social Dilemma (Netflix, 2020). If possible, watching the documentary itself would be a great pre- or post-activity.
  • Students, feel free to read the lesson, do the vocabulary exercises, and leave your answers to the questions in the comment area below.

a lesson on social media

ADVANCED Social Media ESL Lesson Plan: Warm-up (Pair Work)

  1. Which websites do you use the most? What do you like most about them?
  2. What social networking platforms do you use? Why do you use them?
  3. Do you make an effort to limit your screen time? Why or why not?
  4. What social movements do you know that have been popularized by social media?

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-- EFL Lesson plan on social media written by Matthew Barton of (copyright excluding the bingo game which was taken from Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

 Comprehension question answers:

  1. False – the claim is that companies collect this data but do not share it. Rather, they hoard it for themselves so they can use it for monetization.
  2. (This could be defined as a way to make capital through gathering information about the public.)
  3. The author is suggesting that the correlation between societal health issues and the introduction of smartphones has a causal connection.
  4. (Social media leads to polarization and entrenchment of views. It also enables the spread of fake information. This is harmful for democracies, which operate best when healthy debate and a plurality of views are allowed.)
  5. He describes them as ‘regular people’, suggesting that the same thing could happen to anyone.

Vocabulary answers: 1-e, 2-g, 3-L, 4-f, 5-j, 6-h, 7-c, 8-d, 9-a, 10-b, 11-k, 12-i

2 comments on “The Social Dilemma: A Lesson on Social Media (Advanced)

  1. Cristina Casanovas (Posted on 2-21-2023 at 05:23) Reply

    Is there an answer key anywhere? I can´t find it. Many thanks

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-21-2023 at 09:22) Reply

      Hello! There wasn’t. I’ve just added one. If you find any other lessons that need an answer key, let me know and I’ll update them. Thanks! Enjoy the lesson.

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