Put your phone down and watch ‘The Social Dilemma’

Recently added to Netflix,

Netflix [Fair Use]

Recently added to Netflix, “The Social Dilemma” explores the impact of social media today.

Kayla Riley, Staff Writer

“There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users:’ illegal drugs and software”-Edward Tufte

“The Social Dilemma” made me want to smash my phone with a hammer and then throw the remains in a fire. Netflix has it listed as a science and nature documentary, but honestly, it could be listed as a psychological horror. “Social Dilemma” had me up at night rethinking my entire life, wondering if anything is real, and it left me with more questions than answers. This documentary has the power to make people wake up and realize why the world has seemed so crazy recently.The level of thought and hard work put into this film has made it one of the best documentaries that I have seen in awhile—a film that could lead to a positive change in the world. 

“The Social Dilemma” is a documentary that talks about the horror of the internet. It gives background information on how the internet and social media slowly began taking over people’s lives, and it explains how people are slowly being manipulated and sold to advertisers without even realizing it.“The Social Dilemma” gets its message across in several ways, mixing interviews, animation, graphs and a storyline portrayed by actors. The storyline demonstrates the effect that social media has on the main character, Ben (Skylar Gisondo), and his family. 

Because teenagers have been the most affected by social media, the film shows the perspective from a teenager and pre-teen point of view. Ben slowly becomes more and more addicted to his phone, and his sister Isla (Sophia Hammons) becomes more self-conscious from social media. As the documentary progresses, the audience watches Ben slowly lose himself, and by the end of the movie, Ben is in a comatose state of addiction.

The cast department of “ The Social Dilemma” managed to get some of the biggest names in the tech industry. The lead interviewee, Tristan Harris, used to work at Google as a Design Ethicist and is a Co-Founder of Center for Humane Technology. The cameras follow him as and his life as he gets ready for his Ted Talks, tech conferences and Senate hearings. The documentary also interviews several other important tech people. The tech people give the audience important background information on how social media has gotten so bad. They provide the statistics and facts that help support the message of the documentary. 

The movie features a decent soundtrack. Even though it may not be classified as one of those soundtracks people listen to for fun, it has good background noises almost like a small hum, nothing major, but it helps support the scenes during the interviews and storylines. One song that stood out for me during the film is “I Put a Spell on You.” The song basically describes what social media and the internet has done to people. It helps support the topic and gives the audience a few minutes to really reflect on the horror of social media.

The film describes accurately how social media manipulates people’s minds and makes them spend more and more time on their phone. My dad has always told me nothing in life is free, so whenever an interviewer said “If you are not paying for the product, you are the product” it really struck me and made me realize how much of an impact social media has had on my life. We are all being manipulated and very few people realize it. These social media companies are competing for our attention and time. The more time we spend on our phones, the more money these social media companies are making. I did a self-reflection after watching the film, and I have come to the realization that I also have an addiction. If you also are tired of being played like a pawn and want to break free of your deadly, time consuming addiction, then this documentary is perfect for you.