25 Sep, 2020 The Social Dilemma: A Must See
by Suzanne Badger
There are a few documentaries my family has watched together. Most of them have been animals in the wild through NatGeo, and things the kids have to study for a school like a history documentary or biography. Even though my kids are older now and do not all live under one roof with college back in session, we are all watching and talking about the same one. The Social Dilemma is a must see.
If you are plugging into social media on a daily basis, using GoogleSuite for work or Google email, this is something you NEED to see.
The Social Dilemma
I first heard about The Social Dilemma when one of the people interviewed was on a talk radio podcast I was listening to. “Check it out on Netflix,” the host said. And we at CCM are not big fans of anything Netflix makes; as much of their content is not family-friendly. However, I HAD to check this out. Three of my dearest friends in the world have husbands who work in technology, and I have heard about some of the “best practices” in tech changing for a while. So, I knew a little about what to expect. That’s how I deemed The Social Dilemma a must see.
But this was SO MUCH MORE sinister than what I realized. The documentary itself is not boring, it has a storyline and graphics to keep your family members engaged. I would not watch it with a 4-year-old but I definitely would sit down with my 8 or 9-year-old and watch it so they understand the dangers we are dealing with. Not to scare them, but to educate them.
The Effect on Our Mental Health
Algorithms are what drives engagement, growth, and advertising. Persuasive technology is addictive much like gambling with a slot machine. I talked about this in my January blog when I sat in front of a fire at a friend’s cabin in Tennessee. There’s a dopamine rush that we get from getting likes and comments. One of the people in this documentary is the medical director of addiction medicine at a university. She says, “Social media is a drug.”
As I watched this, I realized how much our very mental health has changed because of the way this whole social media platform is orchestrated. Our very attention is sold, along with our habits and personal life information. For the last 10 years or so, I have not really cared about my privacy as I have worked in radio and television for my career. My work is ingrained in social things, so I have no choice but to promote myself in social media channels. But this film, these interviews straight from the mouths of people who worked on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, and others, changed my paradigm.
When I woke up the next morning to do my regular routine except I purposefully did not get on my phone and check any emails or social media. I used my Bible app for my devotional and put it down. Then I began to write; journal and pray. And for the next 20 minutes, I counted my phone going off constantly. About every minute and a half, my emails were buzzing, news alerts were nudging. It was eye-opening. On a normal day, I would have reached for it and had it interrupt my devotional time. Today, I decided to say no.
The Distractions and Connections
Every ping and notification can be turned off, and I will do so. But I realize how much these algorithms are controlling us; and I’m FROSTED. When I first got on social media I liked it because I could keep up with family in other states so much easier. Then, my classmates were added. Then a ton of people who are friends from other aspects of my life.
I have literally found long lost friends through social media, reconnected with my best friend from childhood, and met a few wonderful new friends along the way, one of whom I consider as a sister. I have mourned with classmates who have lost family members because I saw it on Facebook, given money to charity because of something someone posted. But over the course of the last 5 to 6 years, I see divisiveness in our social media pages and country that I do not like. I believe social media is ruining society because they are purposefully changing our minds.
They are “overpowering human nature and placing a check-mate on humanity,” it says in the film. I see it and I can’t stand it! Is there any way to fix it?
Tristan Harris thinks there is, and he started a company, Human Tech, https://www.humanetech.com/what-we-do to help combat the problem.
And that is a good start, but like with any addiction, I think there is more to be done. We need Jesus at the center of our addiction. I see there are a few support groups for social media addicts. There is even a school for teens with social media addiction. https://www.shepherdshillacademy.org/resources/teens-social-media-addiction/
The Social Dilemma is a must see.
We have to open our eyes and see what this “Social Dilemma” really is.
I prayed this the day after I saw this documentary, maybe it will help you:
God, I have allowed my attention to be hijacked by social media. I have wasted more time in self-seeking activities that do not glorify You. I repent and I ask Your Holy Spirit to nudge me and cleanse me. Help me to be more in tune with YOUR notifications than I am with those from technology. Show me how to re-engage with meaningful people in real life. AMEN.
Suzanne Badger is a native Texan and has worked in radio, television, and the music business.
She is a Christ-follower, autism advocate, songwriter, skincare consultant, and a classic radio enthusiast. Suzanne is happily married (for 27 years) with two children and two dogs (Brittanys).
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