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“Houston, We Have a Dilemma”

I never got to watching “The Social Dilemma”, so I thought I would take the time and watch it, since the social part of the internet has had a pretty big impact on my life and my students’ lives. Sometimes in a good way. However, it has also caused some problems.

Initial Thoughts

I appreciated the fact that this movie included people who worked for some pretty big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. It was important to realize that even those who worked directly with social media companies were concerned about the way these platforms had such an impact on people and took a path that they weren’t really anticipating. I also enjoyed how they added stories into this documentary to give you examples of how we are affected. Even though this movie showed mostly the negative impact of technology and Web 2.0 on the world, I want to start with some positives.

Photo by fauxels on

Positive Impacts of The Social Web

Lourdes, Ummey, and Shivali did a great job explaining Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Since Web 2.0 is considered the social web,I like to think Web 2.0 was made with only good intentions. Like “The Social Dilemma” explains- liking posts, tagging people, and commenting- were all made to connect and spread positivity. Technology is powerful and those who started social media andWweb 2.0 didn’t know that it would…. get to how it is now.

Web 2.0 Brought:

  • More communication with those around the world
  • More collaboration and networking
  • Easier usage of the internet and better search engines
  • More learning and knowledge building

Negative Impacts of The Social Web

The Social Dilemma went much more into detail in the negative of social media. Here are a few that caught my attention

  • Social media can cause fake news, influence elections, and cause some pretty big conflicts
  • Your every move is monitored- They will figure out your personality, likes, dislikes, and even emotions so they can keep you using your device and feed you advertisements.
  • Social media is addicting- Getting that dopamine hit from your phone will cause you to always pick it up when lonely or uncomfortable.
  • Platforms just want your money, they don’t care how you are affected. They just want to keep you engaged in any way possible to get money:

If you are not paying for the product, you are the product”.

The Social Dilemma

Impact on Students and Education

I teach middle school, so I don’t see any huge red flags just yet in my classroom when it comes to social media. But I do know how much it can influence and change our students lives:

  • Difficulty balancing social media and productivity- I can’t imagine having to monitor this in older grades (And don’t forget about the rabbit hole!)
  • Social media digs deep into your brain-self-worth and self-esteem are at risk
  • Cyberbullying is a big problem in schools
  • Mental health, addiction, and depression are affected negatively.
  • Students are not exposed to different points of view since their feed is targeted toward them.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad I took the time to watch The Social Dilemma. It made me reminisce on the influence the social web had and still has on my life. I appreciated that they were open in knowing that technology is not going the way big tech companies thought it would. Many thought that it would be easy to adapt to technology… but it is advancing much too fast ( and that scares me a bit. (… I mean what even is an NFT?)

Those who teach older grades, how do you monitor social media at school?)

For those who teach younger grades, are your students impacted by social media ( or any tech)?

Thanks for reading!


4 thoughts on ““Houston, We Have a Dilemma”

  1. It was interesting that during last week’s presentation it was mentioned that Tim Berners-Lee (the creator of the web) thought that most of the world’s problems stemmed from a lack of communication. It is the utopian ideal that if we could just talk more, and understand each other, that it would bring us closer together. All in all it was a noble sentiment, but the reality is that human nature can go both ways. I remember sitting in a restaurant a few years ago (right before the pandemic) and a senior citizen was telling their friend, “I wish I didn’t know everyone else’s political and religious views – because of the Internet we know what everyone thinks about everything – and most of them are idiots!” Now, I don’t agree with the latter part of the statement he made, but I do understand the intention of the statement. A lot of conflict has arisen from broadcasting our deepest and most personal thoughts. I think we might be a bit better off if we didn’t give our “hot takes” as my students call it every single day.


  2. Hi Megan,
    Great post – I enjoyed rewatching the Social Dilemma as well….although I always feel upset for days after. I teach middle years and have come to realize there is only so much student online activity I can monitor. So much of their online lives consist outside of school hours. That is why I feel honest discussions, practice/lessons in class (using platforms like Civix and MediaSmarts), and parent contact/education are essential. My Division does monitor student online activity, but I would much rather build these teaching moments and establish trust in the classroom than rely on “surveillance” methods. I also rotate pretty heavily in the classroom when my students are using the computers….never a moment to sit 😉
    As an aside, I appreciate your emphasis on the quotation: “…you are the product.” It really struck me, too.


  3. Megan,
    Thx for your thoughts about the The Social Dilemma. I watched it about a year ago and it certainly had an impact on me too. It made me reflect as an individual, a teacher, an administrator but most importantly as a dad. I watched it with my teenage daughters and they too were surprised at how social media is all consuming in their worlds. There certainly are positives with social media but it is something that can “blind you”. The advertising part is the most scary for me. We talk about IKEA and suddenly we are flooded with IKEA ads and promos. The fact that your phone is listening to your conversations is downright frightening. To be honest, I am surprised there has not been more push back with this – as it feels like your freedoms are being violated/exposed.


  4. I appreciate Megan for sharing your insights on “The Social Dilemma” with us. I was also really astonished to see how social media has been continuously exploited as a tool to manipulate people’s thoughts and push them in the direction desired by the highest bidder as I viewed this movie for the first time. Furthermore, social networks are exaggerating very serious problems like depression and suicide. We are also being sold as products to the highest bidder, and most of the time, our minds are being conditioned to focus on meaningless things for as long as possible.


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