How much screen time do you average per day? Your phone, your computer, perhaps a tablet. Every minute, every second is giving the founders of all the platforms on these devices such as, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and so much more, data. Data that could potentially put yourself at risk mentally. 

Recently, Netflix launched a documentary in late 2020 that shares this information called Social Dilemma and it opens up the viewers eyes on how much we rely on technology and how it could change your mental health. The documentary however changes perspectives. They have many founders, CEOs, and many more people with high positions that they interview but they also show almost like a movie of teens and the situations we go through in reality. 

Although it reflects off many people, Tristan Harris, a design ethicist and product philosopher of Google, realizes what reality has become and decides the world needs a change. Doing this he made a presentation and reached out to many people and he didn’t have high expectations of it making a difference but when he reached about 400 views of the presentation, so many people had agreed with him and how many of his peers even viewed the behavior he had noticed, in their children. 

The documentary focuses on many different concepts. One being the way the data is used. Almost as each and every single one of us is a “lab rat.” For instance, when you talk about a topic or search something specific such as the new Nike brand shoes, an ad might come up on Instagram or Facebook. That is what the data does. It predicts your likes and dislikes by what you are interested in and what you view. It was even mentioned that everything you view is tracked, even the amount of time you view an image or how long you view pictures scrolling through any platform including Pinterest. Not only does all this information calculate and predict your interest and what you may be as a person, the information gathered can tell a person what your mood might be or even if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or even a sleep disorder and many other mental illnesses. 

“There has been a gigantic increase in depression and anxiety in American teenagers which began right around 2011-2013. The number of teenage girls out of 100,000 in this country have been admitted to the hospital every year because they cut themselves or harm themselves. It is up 62% for older teenage girls and up 189% for preteen girls. The same thing for suicide rates.”  said Jonathan Haidt, NYU Stern School of Business Social Psychologist. He stresses how the Gen Z are the first generation that has had the internet since middle school and the generation has just been more depressed than others and the social contact rate has even gone down. 

Fake news is also a problem that is mentioned in the documentary, due to how much more the fake news has increased over the recent years. Over this summer and the state shutdown alone we’ve heard a bunch of “fake news” regarding the Coronavirus and politics that occurred with the 2020 election. Harris explains that Twitter alone has fake news that spreads six times faster than other news. That alone can affect the world because so many people fall for the false information but that false information is how people make their money. An example of fake news from the film is how so many people said, “Cocaine Kill Coronavirus” and it’s the headline on the news or even how many people reacted and thought it was fake and would share their opinions which made people think it was actually fake. Many of real videos are shown and how Amazon’s Alex Echo Dot shares that the government planned the virus and another shows that a container of Clorax says it kills the virus and it was made previous to the outbreak. It’s not even the U.S. alone, it is affecting everyone across the globe.  “People don’t really know what is true and now it’s a matter of life or death.” 

Personally, I would recommend this documentary because it is a big eye opener and really makes you understand the internet from a different perspective. 

Photo: Google Images

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