The debate of whether social media and technology are safe has resurfaced from the new Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma”. The dangers and consequences of social media are talked about and represented in the film by actors and large ex-company employees on platforms such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook.
The question brought to the viewers’ attention is whether humans, as well as society needs to change, or do the social media platforms that so many are addicted to?
“It’s something we can’t change, it’s something that the businesses have to change.” Senior Editor in Chief Taylor Snow said.
Apps such as Instagram and Facebook are programmed to a person’s liking so they will keep using the app. Seeing posts and videos people favor releases a hormone called dopamine.
“They pull people in and some people can’t help it cause there’s so much dopamine.” Senior Staff Writer Jaden Patel said.
Dopamine is a hormone released in the body responsible for motivation, arousal, and most importantly, addiction. The most common form of dopamine seen is in drug addicts and alcoholics. Social media acts as a switch that fills our body with dopamine, leaving us wanting more.
“There isn’t really too much focus on the phone it’s more social media.” Senior Copy Editor Matthew Menendez said.
Although society is responsible for the amount of technology exposure, companies won’t change anything if they’re still making money. When money comes into play, platforms and companies won’t do anything about it to protect their bottom line.
“They have to make money somehow…let’s say Facebook you must pay $5 a month… but everyone would object to that and all these things are free now,” Patel said.
Social media and technology platforms are responsible for what they show their customers and viewers. They make sure what the viewer sees is what they like so they never leave. Being addicted to a simple box with a battery that isn’t real has proved to be very concerning.
Companies never go out of their way to promote a healthy relationship with technology to the customer, leaving many exposed to social media addiction. Apple has created a screen time app where parents can limit how long an app can be used, but many don’t know it exists, let alone how to use it.
Not only is it dangerously addictive, but social media leaves too much room for cyberbullying and assume no responsibility for what the users communicate.
“If I get a message that says something mean my whole mood changes… and I know it’s not completely my fault.” Senior News Editor Tatiana Gonzalez said.
Although there are options to report the person, the insults and bullying don’t go away. The report button only blocks that specific person. They can just change accounts and come back. Social media platforms haven’t done anything effective to prevent cyberbullying on their platform.
“It’s alarming how the depression rate has gone up by about 10%… especially like self-harm… where someone will post something on the internet, and it spreads a lot,” Patel said.
In the film “Social Dilemma”, they showed the percentage of how much depression and self-harm changed from 2010 to today. The percentage of teenage girls that suffered from these mental health issues increased exponentially by more than 120%, the fastest increase ever seen by scientists and psychologists.
This increase only happened because social media turns the other way when cyberbullying is brought into play. Famous platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have tried to help prevent cyberbullying through several different campaigns, but none have been effective, with most users already adapted to these messages, making them less effective.
“Definitely more regulations from the government, more from social media companies… to keep them from really putting stuff in front of us that we don’t want to see.” Snow said.
Social media platforms are responsible for what we as viewers see and do. They should feel the need to change and not be so focused on money and product. They are blind from all the cyberbullying and addiction created by themselves.
Katherine Prentice // Staff Writer