The Social Dilemma is a popular 2020 Netflix documentary that highlights how harmful social media/networking is to all of us, especially our children.

My daughters implored me to watch this. After watching this documentary they deleted all of the social media apps off of their phones!

The filmmakers scare you with how insidious these tech giants are at exploiting us to keep us online. There is a silver lining- they share their insights on how to protect yourself and your children online.

The stars of the film that warn us about the dangers lurking online are all titans of the tech industry. They worked for Google and Facebook, etc. and helped develop the algorithms that exploit us. The film communicates their concern that something that was designed for good has been manipulated to a horrible extreme for excessive profits.

The documentary warns how we all can receive an alternate reality when it comes to the news we are shown via social media. Your neighbor can/will receive different content. It is all based on our preferences. They liken our online experience to the movie The Truman Show . We are all stars of our own reality TV show.

These tech titans are exploiting us for profit and pitting us against each other. As the stars of the film note, they exploit the worst traits of humankind. We don’t all belong to a couple of tribes. We all know that the world is not binary. People are more nuanced than that. My experience is that most of us agree 90% of the time. 

After they scare you, they provide great advice on how to protect yourself and your kids. This will tell you something: they don’t let their own kids have phones or social media until they are old enough to understand what they give up by giving in. The stars of the film don’t even use the stuff, because they know how destructive it is!

The biggest takeaway from The Social Dilemma was simply to delete your profiles. I couldn’t agree more – the world’s beautiful so get outside!

However, if you’d like to continue using social media, consider applying these helpful hints that the tech experts share at the end of the film:

  • Delete your social media apps from your phone
  • Turn off all notifications
  • Use Qwant as a browser because it doesn’t track your history
  • Never accept the videos recommended to you on YouTube –  always choose
  • Remove Chrome extensions
  • Three rules for kids:
    • All devices out of the bedroom at a fixed time every night
    • No social media until high school or 16 (middle school is already hard enough)
    • Work out a time budget with your child. Ask them how many hours a day they want to spend on their device
  • Before you share, fact check, consider the source, do that extra search. If it’s something that pushes your emotional buttons- it probably is designed to do so
  • You vote with your clicks. If you click on clickbait you are creating a financial incentive that perpetuates this system of misinformation
  • Make sure you get lots of different kinds of information. If you follow people, follow people that you disagree with so you can be exposed to a different point of view
  • Visit to discuss

At Bartley Financial, collecting all available information and assessing its accuracy is integral to what we do. We pride ourselves on evidence-based practices that are core to our approach.

I believe it’s important for people to apply this same type of critical thinking to many aspects of their lives, not just their finances. This is especially true as we are exposed to the information or misinformation that big tech is inundating us with.

As a society, let’s say no to exploitation and learn better ways to use these tools.

Financial Planning with Bartley Financial

At the helm of Bartley Financial is Robert Bartley. Robert, who is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), has over 30 years of business experience and over 20 years of experience as owner of his own financial planning firm. Robert and his team apply their expertise to the betterment of their clients, whether that means managing their investment portfolios, planning for retirement, strategizing taxes, or executing any other initiatives in pursuit of optimum financial health and minimal financial stress.

At Bartley Financial, Robert has built a cohesive team where professionalism is valued alongside integrity. The Bartley Financial family strives to provide unmatched service to clients in Bedford, NH and Andover, MA. They employ a fee-only compensation structure, so clients know that, at Bartley, they come first.

Consider enlisting the help of Bartley Financial’s team as you consider your financial goals and how to achieve them.