Plugged In : The True Toxicity of Social Media Revealed

2019, Technology  -   7 Comments
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Ratings: 7.83/10 from 105 users.

No phenomenon in recent history has fundamentally changed us to a greater degree than social media. What might seem like an innocuous means of passing time and staying in touch with old friends is actually destroying us. So say many of the mental health professionals featured in Plugged In: The True Toxicity of Social Media Revealed.

"People need a hard break from some of these tools," says one of the film's interview subjects. It's a question of survival. Evidence suggests that the frequent use of social media platforms alienates us from physical social interactions, heightens our feelings of insecurity, and has had a profound impact on the rates of depression, anxiety and suicide around the world, especially among adolescents.

The executives and designers behind these platforms are not oblivious to the ill effects that result from overuse of their product. They're the unfortunate byproduct of their business model. Social media algorithms are crafted to inspire a short-term infusion of dopamine, and can quickly condition the user's brain and central nervous system. It's an engine where narcissism thrives. It generates a strong sense of envy in many users that can quickly evolve into deep depression. Cyber bullies feel empowered to lash out under the cloak of anonymity.

The diagnosis is grim. With the help of author and behavioral researcher Sam Vaknin, the film attempts to piece together a possible cure. Additional interviews with social media users shine a spotlight on the power of these platforms to prey upon the vulnerabilities in human nature, and how simple behavior modifications can help to curb the perils of instant gratification.

The film insists that the mere existence of the internet and its social media possibilities are not inherently evil. But our exposure to them must be moderated and used responsibly just like any potentially addictive activity.

It's an addiction that afflicts many millions of users across the globe. Most of them are likely unaware of their dependency or the risks it poses to their psyche. Plugged In: The True Toxicity of Social Media Revealed offers a valuable deep dive into the psychological impacts of the medium.

Directed by: Richard Willett

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7 Comments / User Reviews

  1. j sharples

    You're not going to find any sympathy for these poor depressed wanker teens from me. Just the fact that people are willing to use and continue to use facebook and its disturbing set of behaviour control mechanism and limiting expression. Means of ranking and judgement has been reduced to an innocuous thumbs up, but insidious psychology behind that which exists without an opposite. Deliberate, evil, cruel.

    Interesting sidenote, remember myspace? Watch a hollywood tv show or movie from 2005-2007 and it's all myspace myspace myspace. WHy did myspace fail? To put it simply:

    "Myspace required something from the user. The user had to have created something, made something or developed something which they could then post onto myspace, putting thier work on display, saying "This is what _I_ did, what _I_ made, what do you think"?

    It sounds foolproof, it should have worked... but.. the problem was that all those knob heads who describe themselves as an artist, or 'creative' or insightful.. actually aren't.

    Worse than this, these drones turn out not to have the ability to critically examine or evaluate anything. Have no independent thought and have no identity. All those users and less than 1% of which actually have created anything, ever, at all!

    So my conclusion is that irritating millennials are pathetic liars and faggots. Reddit claims its fair share of them, but for a platform like facebook where you get to validate the lie is going to dominate. Its a zero sum game on facebook. You're only winning if your 'friends' feel inadequate.

  2. JustMe

    Excellent video, hopefully very eye-opening to many. Was a tad disappointed that we didn't get to see the outcome of the "month of no smart phone" experiment!

    1. julia

      48:17 they speak about the experiment but very quickly!!

    2. j sharples

      Well read between the lines, its obvious that none of the kids could hack even a day. Disappointingly the self righteous spokesman 'cool old dude' also failed. He straight up lied about even owning a dumb phone as he would have pulled it out at the time to emphasise the point. His excuse was he had to organise all those appearances at various schools and trendy youth hangouts where he could get down with the kiddies yo!

      Urgh

  3. Marko

    No need for a documentary to tell me the obvious. FB and Twitter especially is are toxic, mental pathology-inducing inventions that waste peoples' time

  4. Mr Robert Hughes

    Thank you all who were involved in this work especially Mr Grannon for his dedication. It has been a revelatory experience for me personally. I have followed professor Vanikin and Mr Grannon over the last year through a landmark breakdown and reassessment of my own psyche. Their work has prompted many questions and conversations IRL which I now take forward into my life as a parent and counsellor. These are interesting times.

    1. salhi iheb

      there's no arabic subs?? the ones provided by youtube aren't accurate at all