The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma – Netflix Documentary

A must watch documentary

I watched this documentary with much scepticism, trying to convince myself that it was designed to elicit fear.  Throughout the documentary, I would pause and make notes about how the same was probably said when electricity was invented, when the car was invented when the radio became popular when TV became popular, and so on and on.  I really wanted to believe that this technology wasn’t to be feared any more than any other major development in how we live our lives.

By the end of the documentary, I was left feeling defeated.  The concerns and fears raised in the documentary weren’t of some distant dystopia, they are already here, the division, the tribalism, the anger, the violence, the threat to our democratic world.  If for a moment we remove the right vs. left politics present in democracy, we would all acknowledge that democracy is under threat, state actors, particularly Russia have impacted Western democracies – and not via hacking or criminal activity, simply by sowing fear and division using the tools created by big tech.  Asymmetrical warfare is a term thrown about without much thought as to how to combat it, yet it is very real and very dangerous, whether in the hands of nation-states or criminal enterprises.

Through big tech and social media, we have given up our personal data to be sold to the highest bidder.  Algorithms and AI are now deciding how to reach a desired outcome.  A brief investigation into the Brexit campaign, the 2016 US election, the 2019 French election, shows how social media was used to manipulate educated adults by playing into their fears sowing discord, distrust, and ultimately massive unrest.  The anger we see playing out on our televisions is a product of this. 

Big tech has improved our lives in many ways, I am not denying that.  My question is, at what cost?  I am a so-called Gen X, I spent the early part of my life until my twenties without the Internet,  I vaguely remember what the world was like before we were all connected 100% of the time.  A world where when you left the office, your workday was over, when you went on holiday, you were unreachable, not by your own choice, but because you didn’t carry a communication device around with you 24/7.  Cameras were used on special occasions and photographs were in albums and were not editable, not filtered, not designed to render an utterly unrealistic, perfect image.  

How we were perceived was important, but reactions weren’t instant and we valued only the opinions of the people we actually knew and interacted with in the real world, mostly people who valued and loved us.  Today’s children and teens face a far different environment, social media has created a world where the opinions of strangers and peers matter, affirmation must be instant, and self worth is based on interactions on social media. “Likes” activate dopamine, dopamine increases the desire for more “likes”, a vicious cycle that almost always results in self-destructive behaviour.  Social media has become the metric upon which developing minds measure how popular they are, how worthy they are.  This is no accident, big tech is designed to keep kids on the screen for as long as they can, opening children and teens to levels of bullying, feelings of inadequacy, depression, and even suicide. 

A cursory look at the statistics of depression in teens and pre-teens, especially girls, as well as the suicide rates of these groups have increased so dramatically, according to the documentary, 159% in early teen girls, 159%! That’s enormous.  That’s terrifying.  Parenting young girls in the big tech age must be frightening.  In previous blogs,  cyberbullying, social media, and the dangers of pornography on the developing brain have been discussed.  I am linking them because they are important.  Cyberbullying takes place on social media and it’s 24/7, nobody, let alone, a young developing brain is mentally equipped for this type of assault.

What can you do?  Take back control.

Something has to change, and the people best suited to changing this are parents and adults invested in protecting the next generation.  Parents need solutions and tools that allow them to control screen time and content that their children are exposed to.  We need to accept that technology advances too rapidly for governmental regulation to keep up.  This is a new situation, the invention of the car, radio and TV did not advance so rapidly that protections for the consumer were not put in place.  The Internet and big tech have changed this.  Bureaucracies are not designed to rapidly deal with the potential pitfalls of the era, and these pitfalls are deadly.  

In such a fast paced environment, we at LucidView believe the only solution is a ground up solution, whereby the parents and concerned parties whether they be, small, medium, or large businesses take control of the content that is accessible to their kids, students, employees, customers, and patrons. 

To this end, LucidView provides extremely effective and affordable tools that ensure that content deemed unsuitable is blocked, that social media time is limited and so much more.  Never, in the history of humanity, has it been so important for adults to be focusing on the mental development of their children, demanding proper content filtering services from their ISPs, the IT specialist they use for other IT related services, or anyone willing to take the time to create their own highly effective Content Filter. Our website includes scripts, videos, and instructions that will provide you with a highly rigorous solution that will protect your children from the dangers posed to them by big tech algorithms and AI.  

This is no longer a world where regulation from top down can be relied upon.  It has to be from the ground up.  The consequences of ignoring this are tremendous, terrifying, and actually happening right now as I type this.