What is The Social Dilemma?

What is The Social Dilemma?

Yzabella Sanchez, Contributor

The Social Dilemma is a new documentary on Netflix focused on the effects of social media,  technology, and its effects on our mental health and the world around us. With a number of interviewees ranging from major tech vice presidents, former app builders, professors, and investors, they all share the same warning against big tech and their potential dangers. The documentary shines a light on the negative impact of social media and how it’s spreading fake news, causing recent spikes in depression, and the ways it divides people in the world. On the website for The Social Dilemma, it states that the number of countries with political disinformation campaigns on social media doubled in the past 2 years. The documentary shares the threat it poses on democracy due to the spread of false information and how it’s caused more political separation. 

Watching this felt like a wake-up call to what would happen if we didn’t hold tech companies responsible for the social and political division their apps and algorithms have caused–not to mention the constant surveillance and storage of our data. I had already felt some of the anxiety about my phone constantly tracking what I was doing, but hearing it come out of the mouths of tech experts and professors just added another depth to those anxieties. It felt strange to think of the fact that I’ve lived most of my life being exposed to the internet so much and basically growing up with it. I also know the mental impact it has on people – especially teens – and how our phone can feel like a magnet at times and it feels almost impossible to not check it at least once every 30 minutes. Towards the end of The Social Dilemma, I felt a sense of eeriness due to the fact that when the interviewees were asked whether they believed a civil war would happen, a good number of them actually responded with a yes. 

 After watching, I was left to wonder a lot about how dependent I really am towards my phone, and I came to the conclusion that I rely on it way too much. Since watching it, it’s been a few weeks, but I’ve noticed my screen time dropping drastically and I’ve been trying to connect a little more with my outer self. It’s hard though, especially with the ongoing pandemic and isolation, sometimes my phone feels like it’s the only thing connecting me with my friends and family I can no longer be in contact with.