Does Social-Media Connect or Control? Learnings from “The Social Dilemma” – for Parents and Teenagers

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Social media is a world of fun, where you can chat with friends, watch funny videos, and learn about all sorts of cool stuff. You might use platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. It’s like a big party that everyone’s invited to!

But, did you know that social media can have a dark side too? The Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” talks about this side and gives us some important lessons.

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Why is Social Media Good?

  1. Staying Connected: Social media helps us stay connected with our friends and family, even when they live far away.
  2. Sharing and Learning: We can share our stories, photos, and videos, and learn about different cultures, hobbies, and topics.
  3. Expressing Ourselves: It’s a place where we can express our thoughts and creativity.
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Why is Social Media Bad?

However, just like eating too much candy isn’t good, spending too much time on social media can also be bad.

  1. Addiction: Like video games, social media can be very addictive. We might spend hours scrolling, which takes away time from other important things like homework or playing outside.
  2. Fake News: Sometimes, people share false information or “fake news” that can confuse or scare us.
  3. Cyberbullying: Some people might use social media to be mean to others, which can hurt our feelings.

“The Social Dilemma” is a documentary that peeks behind the curtain of the magical world of social media. It includes interviews with many important people who have worked in big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. They share how these platforms are designed to keep us hooked, how they can spread fake news, affect our moods, and even influence how we think.

The documentary is like a guidebook, helping us understand the tricky parts of social media and how to use it in a healthier way. Now, let’s learn the top 20 lessons from ‘The Social Dilemma’ and what we can do about them!

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Top 20 Learnings and Actions

  1. Be Mindful of Your Time: Try not to spend too much time on social media. Set a time limit for each day.
  2. Don’t Believe everything. Fact-Check Information: Just because a picture or story looks real, doesn’t mean it is. Be critical. Not everything you read on social media is true. Check facts from reliable sources.
  3. Don’t Compare: Everyone shares their best moments on social media. Don’t feel bad if your life doesn’t seem as perfect.
  4. Privacy Matters. Avoid Sharing Personal Details: Be careful about what personal information you share online. Never share personal details like your address, phone number, or school name on social media.
  5. Stand Against Cyberbullying: If you see someone being bullied online, report it. Be kind to everyone.
  6. Ads are Not Just Ads: Understand that ads on social media are targeted at you based on what you like or search for.
  7. Turn Off Notifications: Too many notifications can distract you. Turn off unnecessary ones.
  8. Unplug Occasionally: Spend some time away from your devices. Enjoy nature or read a book.
  9. Social Media is Not Real Life: Understand that social media is a curated version of life. Real life happens off-screen.
  10. Be Aware of Emotions: Social media can influence our moods and feelings. If something you see makes you feel sad, angry, or anxious, it’s okay to close the app.
  11. Respect Others’ Opinions: People may have different opinions. Respect them and avoid arguments.
  12. Support Each Other: Social media can be a place to support each other, to celebrate successes and to comfort friends when they’re feeling down. Use it to spread positivity.
  13. Think Before You Post: Be thoughtful about what you post online. It stays there forever!
  14. Talk About Your Feelings: If something on social media upsets you, talk about it with a trusted adult.
  15. Use Privacy Settings: Make sure your accounts are set to private and only accept friend requests from people you know.
  16. Don’t Share Passwords: Keep your social media account passwords secret, even from your best friends.
  17. Balance Your Time: Make sure you spend time doing other things you enjoy, like sports or music.
  18. Be a Good Digital Citizen: Remember, your actions online impact real people. Be respectful and kind.
  19. Understand Social Media Companies Make Money From Your Attention: The more time you spend on social media, the more money they make.
  20. Know It’s Okay to Log Off: If you ever feel overwhelmed by social media, it’s okay to take a break.
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Photo by olia danilevich on


Social media can be a wonderful place if we use it wisely.

Remember, it’s just a tool. It’s up to us to decide how we use it.

Next time you’re online, remember these tips.

Happy surfing!

NOTE: I create some of these posts using GPT4, asking the right question until I get the response that matches what I wanted to say. And all posts created using GPT4 will carry a message like this one at the end. So, FYI please.

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