The social dilemma

The social dilemma on Netflix

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The social dilemma was a very insightful docu-drama starring on Netflix. It highlighted the detrimental effects of social media on a global scale. It explained that the addictive nature of social media is not accidental – the constant need to scroll through your feed is fine-tuned by engineers who devote their time to understanding the human psychology and the human brain. They focus on getting us hooked on to social media and strive to work out what keeps us glued to our screens and for extended periods of time. 

The docu-drama also touched on fake news and its prevalence on social media. Fake news spread 6 times faster than real news on Twitter. This is worrying as online fake news is leading to offline, real-life consequences such as riots and violence. People who watch a conspiracy theory video are then further recommended videos on other conspiracy theories (this is not accidental – we are being shown what the AI believes will keep us glued to our screens for longer) and as a result our perception of reality is becoming distorted as we begin to believe that everyone thinks the same way we do because we are only being presented with what confirms our bias. We are not shown the opposing view. As a result, people are becoming less tolerable of others opinion and views. This is problematic for democracy. 

The number of teenagers feeling depressed, anxious and suicidal has steeply increased over the past few years and this is linked to the rise of social media usage. The constant need to be on social media is affecting our mental health. We are being fed unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards. This is leading to a generation of young people who dislike their appearance. The number of young people who want to change their face surgically to look like a filtered version of themselves is on the rise and is coined ‘snapchat dysmorphia’. 

I thought the docu-drama was very interesting and insightful. It explained difficult concepts in simple terms so is suitable for a wide range of audience. I liked that it looked at a broad spectrum of problems caused by social media rather than just focusing on one aspect. It also provided solutions including the necessity for tech companies needing to adopt a more ethical approach.

I watched the documentary recently and as soon as my laptop lid was closed, I was on to the setting section of my phone. I put time limits on all of my social media platforms and restricted the use of certain apps during certain hours of the day. I was absolutely horrified when I saw the number of hours I had used my phone for over the past week. All those hours mindlessly scrolling – what wasted time! I now make an active effort to pick up a book instead of my phone (finally reading a book I was meaning to start a while back called 11 missed calls) and I’ve recently got back into doing crosswords. I would definitely recommend everyone who uses social media to watch this documentary as it is certainly an eye-opener. It’s always good to be aware of changes we can make to improve ourselves and our habits.

Have you watched it, and if so, what was your impression? Do you think it unfairly criticises tech companies and shows only the gloom and doom of what the future holds or do you think it highlighted real problems that need real solutions? Have you made any changes to the way you use social media? Are you aware of the hours you are spending on social media or your phone in general? If you haven’t yet watched it, are you planning on giving it a go?

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