Arts

New Netflix doc 'The Social Dilemma' presents grim warning

"The Social Dilemma" explores the detrimental impact of social media, with help from those who created it. 

"The Social Dilemma" explores the detrimental impact of social media, with help from those who created it. 

Image By: Netflix

We’ve grown so used to being completely dominated by technology that we haven’t even realized it. Many of us — including myself — are able to admit that we use our phones far too often and have grown completely dependent on them for communication, entertainment or “connection” with others. But, as a society we have accepted digital communication as a driving force, one that has already led to psychological and societal breakdowns before our very eyes. 

Examining the psychological addiction millions have towards their screen devices and the social media sites that seemingly now rule the world; “The Social Dilemma” would work a lot better if it focused less on trying to scare us to death. Giving itself strong credibility, the documentary features interviews throughout with former executives and employees of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram who helped invent the technology that they think is causing society to collapse before our eyes. 

Each individual who helped build the social media phenomenon admits to how poorly they failed to perceive the spiral of effects that are plaguing society daily, yet fail to offer any suggestions for how to solve the problem other than simply deleting all social media accounts.

Tackling issues such as fake news, political and ideological polarization, social media addiction, increased depression and eating disorders in teens, and lack of socialization in youth, the documentary presents a gloom and doom dystopia as our current situation. While most of the film features strong insights into these issues from expert opinions, much of it suffers from cheesy, poorly-acted scenarios involving addiction to social media and the cataclysmic fallout from our dependence on them. Such depictions come across as a bit forced, and it seems that featuring individuals who have suffered treachery from social media in real life should have been interviewed to truly drive home the main message. 

It’s hard to deny that social media and technology are causing stark changes in society and are generating more negatives than positives. While this may be hard to deny, the film features a strong bias on this argument and doesn’t allow the audience to form their own opinions due to being force-fed a mouthful of constant negativity. While I personally agree with most of the arguments made, I would have enjoyed being more challenged to form my own positions on the topics presented. 

“The Social Dilemma” is a rude awakening for us that opens our eyes to the habits of ourselves and those around us. We may not like everything that is thrown at us due to having to confront our own personal weaknesses with social media and our relationship with technology, yet it’s vital we address the issues raised so that we can have a better understanding of ourselves and society.  

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