“Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” — Sophocles
We at Beacon Wealth are intrigued by what’s taking place in our society as a result of social media usage. So, we recently watched the Netflix Documentary-Drama hybrid, The Social Dilemma. Not only were we surprised by what we heard, but we found it troubling for many reasons including some of our own personal experiences as users of social media. Considering that addiction goes against what God requires from His followers, we believe that this is something worth investigating.
Several former executives for companies that are the creators of email and various social media platforms were interviewed to form the basis of the show. As each interviewee shared their first-hand experience in the high-tech industry where social media was born, a constant theme emerged. It involved how social media manipulates users to keep them engaged, which capitalizes on the human need for connection and approval and ultimately leads to addiction to our devices.
Beyond the interviews, the documentary creators also wove in a drama, which centered around a teenage boy, his friends and family. Integrating the storyline gave us an inside view into the lives and homes of many of us. As the story unfolded through the documentary, we saw how the casual use of social media was much more of an intentional ploy that reshapes the psychological effects on the brain.
However, perhaps the more troubling aspect (as if being addicted to email, social media and our phones isn’t enough) is the detrimental effects the epidemic is having globally. We have witnessed coordinated efforts in social media groups where people gather together for a cause and find themselves in the midst of violence. This phenomenon has shown the statistical increase of violence throughout the world as a direct result of the use of interest groups forming on social media sites.
The Impact on Our Lives
The impact social media has on mental and emotional health is showing the astounding rise in anxiety disorders, depression in all demographics and unfortunately, the largest impact is on adolescent girls who are reeled in and then compare themselves to movie stars, influencers and their own peers.
One of the interviewees said, “We’re seeing powerful corporations pulling our attention away from living our lives.” With our attention focused on responding to every notification that catches our eye or vibration in our pocket, we are being distracted from being present with others. We are being pulled away from life.
This is one of several reasons we seek to avoid investing in social media companies.
We don’t want to be alarmists, but we have made some important decisions to limit our own screen usage and create more space for being present with others and especially to enjoy the presence and quiet whispers of our Heavenly Father. We encourage you to watch the documentary for yourself to formulate your own conclusions and decisions surrounding the use of devices and social media for yourself and your family.
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