Review: Put The Phone Down For This One


Netflix Original Documentary – Photo Courtesy Cinema Blend

Olexis Tallent, Reporter and Editor

Documentary Review – The Social Dilemma – An overview 


The documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” was put onto Netflix January 26 of 2020 and is based upon the idea that social networking is not only an asset to the way we communicate, but it is an addictive technology that is destructive to the way we live in general. 

Have you ever thought of yourself as a product? That someone would want to not buy you, but your time. The companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, TikTok, Instagram and many more are not giving you these applications for free, but they are buying your time. 

 A former employee for Firefox & Mozilla Labs and Co-founder in Center for Humane Technology, Aza Raskin, had put it this way, “If you aren’t paying for the product, then you are the product.” To put this into perspective, Jaron Lanier, Founding Father of Virtual Reality, had stated in the Documentary that : “It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behavior and perception that is the product.”

It is eye opening when people realize the fact that these mega companies are based upon how they can change the way we think, speak, and live. The companies not only try but also succeed at figuring out what keeps us scrolling through our phones. The time of how long we look at an image or what makes us want to keep scrolling, gives the companies enough data to reimplement the information over and over again, which keeps us wanting more. Whatever keeps one’s attention is the gateway for the company to gain our screentime, allowing them to put advertisements in between our favorite videos and gain profit. 

Sean Parker is the Former President of Facebook and had mentioned the fact that when they are using this data, they’re “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

The technology that we have access to is no longer a “tool” that we use when we need it. A hammer is only used for certain tasks, but a technology is no longer a tool. Raskin had brought up this same type of analogy in which if it was a tool, it wouldn’t be demanding our attention. The social Networks are not only tools that we use when we absolutely need them, but they are using our psychology against us.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the U.S. Hospital Admission for Non-Fatal Self harm has grown in girls ages 15-19 by 62% and increased for ages 10-14 by 189% since 2009. Not only was this a shocking fact, but we can find parallel data with Suicide Rates. From 2001 compared to 2010, from ages 15-19 rates of suicide grew up by 70% and with an influx of 151% on ages 10-14.

In conclusion, the human population is being manipulated, but we are allowing it to happen. Even those who are behind the scenes, find themselves being brought into this trap of technology. Not only have we given up our time, but we have given up our ideas and it is hard (almost impossible) to find the truth. We see what we like and what relates to us. Whether Democrat or Republican, for or against, we see what we believe, not the truth. We are not only being manipulated, but the truth is being manipulated and we are only seeing what the algorithm produces.


From Viewer, 

I would highly recommend watching this hour and a half documentary. It completely puts things into perspective and opens my eyes to see technology for what it truly is. The unique way in which the interviews all come together to make one singular point, makes me question if technology has changed the way I perceive things, and to answer honestly, I do. I think it is not only changing me, but changing the world.