HomeEntertainmentMoviesNetflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma’...

Netflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma’ will make you want to smash your smartphone

You may not smash your smartphone after watching Netflix’s newest hit documentary, but if you do, I won’t blame you.

Titled The Social Dilemma (PG-13), it interviews former Silicon Valley insiders and reveals how Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other Internet giants have spoiled nearly every aspect of society with a series of tempting products we, too often, don’t resist.

The daily time we once dedicated to family and friends is now wasted by chasing fake happiness in a virtual world. The time we once used to read a book or take a hike is now traded for tweeting and posting and scrolling. We no longer live life. We only watch other people pretend to live their lives.

As one expert in the documentary says, social media has become the “digital pacifier” we run to when we’re anxious or sad or need a quick pick-me-up. Soon, though, we’ve wasted an hour of our day — and we’re worse off than we were before.

It’s addictive because it’s designed to be addictive, the insiders tell us.

Social media, another expert says, “operates just like the slot machines in Vegas.” That’s because you don’t know what you’re going to get when you slide your thumb down on the screen to refresh, but you know who might find something new and exciting.

It’s addictive because it’s designed to be addictive, the insiders tell us. The various platforms learn what you like, and then give you more of it. They send you notifications when you’re tagged or mentioned. They even suggest things you might like.

“We’ve moved away from having a tools-based technology environment to an addiction- and manipulation-based technology environment,” one expert says.

Sadly, there are tragic consequences. Since the social media age began booming, hospitalizations for non-fatal self-harm have increased 62 percent for older teen girls and 189 percent for younger teens girls. Even worse: The suicide rate has risen 54 percent for older teen girls and 151 percent for younger teen girls.

I always thought that, like fundamentally, it was a force for good. I don’t know if I feel that way anymore.

“Those kids are the first generation in history that got on social media in middle school,” says social psychologist Jonathan Haidt.

The film includes an impressive list of experts: a former senior vice president at Twitter; a former president of Pinterest; the co-inventor of Google Drive and Gmail Chat; and the co-inventor of the Facebook like button, among them.

“I think we were naive” about the negative consequences of the technology, one of them says.

The PG-13 documentary isn’t for small children. It includes mild language and is rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, disturbing/violent images and suggestive material.
Despite the content caveats, it’s a must-watch for parents of tweens and teenagers. It’s also worth watching for adults who have fallen into the social media trap and need an incentive to climb out.

Also worth watching this month:

‘Switched’ (Digital and VOD Sept. 4; DVD Oct. 6) — A bullied high school girl prays that her tormentor will learn “what it’s like to walk a day in my shoes.” Her prayer is answered when the two girls wake up one morning having “switched” bodies. Switched is a Freaky Friday-style movie that’s one of the funniest comedies you’ll ever watch. It’s also faith-based and has positive lessons about bullying, kindness and beauty. Unrated, it includes no coarse language.

‘Small Group the Movie’ (Digital and DVD, Oct. 6) — A director moves from California to the South in order to film a critical documentary about evangelicals — a film his producer says will reveal them to be hateful hypocrites. The director, though, only finds kindness, love and a body of believers trying to live out Christ’s commands. This faith-based comedy drama includes mild language (misuse of “God” — said by the producer) and is rated PG-13 for thematic material including brief violence and drug references. It’s a funny film with a great message for the church.

‘Never Again’ (Theaters: Oct. 13 and 15) — A radicalized Muslim, Kasim Hafeez, travels to Israel in order to confirm his hatred for the Jewish people, but is surprised to discover a multi-ethnic nation that welcomes him. Never Again is a documentary about anti-Semitism that follows one man’s journey from being anti-Semite to being a supporter of Israel. He also meets holocaust survivor Irving Roth. It’s unrated but includes images of the holocaust.

‘Christopher Robin’ (Disney Plus) — An overworked British man rediscovers the joys of life when his boyhood friends — Winnie, Piglet, Tigger and Roo — visit him. Christopher Robin is a live-action film with great lessons about family, encouragement, kindness and the balance of work and leisure. Rated PG for some action.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and entertainment for more than 15 years. He is the husband to Julie and the father of four young children.

- A word from our sponsors -

spot_img

Most Popular

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be the first to.know what's happening in the Christian community

More from Author

MercyMe hopes new album can help heal divisions: ‘We’ve got a divided body of Christ’ 

Bart Millard and his MercyMe bandmates began writing some of the...

Matthew West: Silly song ‘Gobble Gobble’ has served as a bridge to the Gospel

Christian musician Matthew West has won multiple Dove Awards, an American...

Frustrated with Hallmark? Try Great American Family

My family was vacationing at a condo a while back when...

‘Lifemark,’ the Kendricks’ latest movie, perfectly captures the emotions of adoption 

Editor’s note: This monthly series, “5 Family-Friendly Things,” spotlights five family-friendly...

- A word from our sponsors -

spot_img

Prayer, Faith Can Help Teens with Mental Health Issues

A study on teens and young adults confirmed that those who pray and have a relationship with God were more likely to flourish in life more than their peers.

Count Your Blessings Daily, Not Just Once a Year

I heard about a family seated around their table looking at the beautiful golden-brown turkey. Dressing and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, various vegetables, and casseroles complemented the turkey. From the oldest to the youngest, they went around and expressed their praise.

More than 7,000 Kids Decide to Follow Jesus –YFC

The Youth for Christ announced that 7,323 kids and teens decided to follow Jesus Christ this year, twice the record reported in 2021.

Billy Graham Archive & Research Center is Now Open

The new Billy Graham Archive and Research Center opened in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, the birthday of the late evangelist.

MercyMe hopes new album can help heal divisions: ‘We’ve got a divided body of Christ’ 

Bart Millard and his MercyMe bandmates began writing some of the songs on their latest album in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, long before the nation was divided over issues that now dominate the headlines.  Millard, though, believes the album’s release in 2022 had been God’s plan...

‘Praise the Lord!’ Ukrainian Christians Cheer Kherson Liberation

Ukrainian Christians celebrate the liberation of Kherson with cheers of praise and thanksgiving, seven months after Russia occupied the city.

JESUS Film Makes History, Now Translated in 2,000 Languages

The JESUS film makes history as it is now translated into its 2,000th language making it the most translated film of all time.

U.S. Renews Calls Against Blasphemy Laws

The United States joined 15 countries in expressing concern over international blasphemy laws.

Franklin Graham Attracts Record-breaking Audience in Italy

More than 13,200 people gathered for an evangelical outreach led by Franklin Graham in Milan, Italy on October 29.

A Hindu PM Marks a Historic Moment in the UK

Rishi Sunak becomes Britain's first Hindu prime minister. He is also the first person of color to hold the highest office in the UK.

A New Biblical Worldview Study Series is Now Available Online

Family Research Council and Summit Ministries announced a partnership launching a new biblical worldview series called Now We Live.

Gen Z Could Change the Faith Landscape in Australia

Two recent surveys on Christianity and the church in Australia found that Gen Zs are generally open to conversations about faith and spirituality.