The Social Dilemma, a new documentary from Netflix, aims to shed light on how digital titans have played with our psyche to shape our behavior. In the documentary In The Social Dilemma, social media is portrayed as an unstoppable force that is causing unimaginable damage to society. By deploying data mining and monitoring technology, the creators and owners of such sites rely on their unsuspecting consumers. Young people’s mental health and addiction can be negatively impacted by the way that various social media platforms are designed. These days, it’s difficult to avoid becoming obsessed with social media and technology since they are so widespread in our culture. It is practically hard to get through a full day without using it in the state that our world is in right now. It is used to complete studies, communicates with loved ones, and stay up to date on current affairs. It keeps people entertained and avoids awkward social situations. The world has benefited greatly from social media, yet every action has a corresponding and opposing reaction. Addiction is the economic model of using social media, not just a side effect. Algorithms are developed by observing our behavior, including the things we do, how we do them, and how long we do them. The more it learns, the more material it can provide that is tailored to us. Social media is a technique for advertising to buy our attention so they can make money because if we don’t pay for the product, then we are the product. We accept the reality of the world with which we are provided, making it challenging to accept alternate realities, as stated in The Social Dilemma, which used a statement from The Truman Show to make this point. Additionally, algorithms can affect our personality and psychology by learning it. Because of the frequent exposure to doom, fake news, and societal constraints like beauty standards and others, we’re increasingly sad, worried, and suicidal. Our minds can only adapt so much to the exponential growth of technology.
Negative Effects of Social Media
- Social media can cut down on the amount of time spent studying.
- Youth that uses social media may experience low self-esteem due to the “perfect life/body” photos.
- Online bullying has become more prevalent and is more challenging to detect and address.
- Anxiety and depression cases are steadily increasing. There are clear connections that social media is somewhat to blame.
- Social media is available 24 hours a day, and young people may lack the maturity to switch off, which might cause them to lose sleep.
- Social media does have a substantial impact on how much people exercise. Social networking is now frequently used for “hanging out” with friends.
Positive Effects of Social Media
- Connections online with people who share common interests, such as faith, culture
- Interactive experiences and organic collaboration
- Increased bonding with long-distance friends and family
- Personal learning and celebrated talents (YouTube tutorial)
- job opportunities
- Social media allows people to share their voices and create awareness.
- People are able to put themselves out there, share their own stories, and take ownership of their own narratives.
- These platforms can empower marginalized youth and connect them with successful role models.
- Representation is crucial. Social media enables people to find news and information that is overlooked by mainstream media.
The best way to support the positive use of social media is to learn how to use it responsibly.
We must help children understand the impact of their online and offline identities Children must be taught how to use social media responsibly. When children learn to swim, we guide them, we teach them how to be safe and we ensure they know the risks. It takes many years to learn to swim, and almost an entire childhood to be trusted to swim alone. Yet for some reason, we give children access to ‘the greatest amount of information the world has ever seen with very little supervision or training, and then we blame the tools. We would never argue that swimming pools are ruining children even though we know that without supervision and guidance, they could be life-threatening.
Children need guidance and support when learning to navigate digital waters. We must:
- Set limits, boundaries, and expectations and provide necessary supervision
- Educate youth about bullying and cyberbullying
- Learn and teach digital safety and security adequately
- Learn to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety, and talk to children daily about mental well-being and social & emotional learning
- Educate children about the effects on self-esteem and body image
- Ensure opportunities for face-to-face interactions
- Find online and offline peer support and adult support.
- Push for laws to protect our youth online
- Model balance to promote well-being
Both positive and negative effects of social media have been seen in a variety of sectors. There are also numerous bad repercussions including cyberbullying, hacking, and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube addiction. Social media use, therefore, has a lot of positive qualities, but it should be used properly to avoid becoming dependent. We need to maximize the positive effects of the propagation of false information, polarization, and mental health while limiting the negative effects on these platforms’ mechanisms and organizational frameworks. But the tech sector alone cannot resolve these problems. Promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration will be a key strategy for reducing these effects.