Books to read after you watched The Social Dilemma

  • Posted on: 23 January 2021
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

Have you watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix yet?

The docudrama explores the rise of social media, particularly the damage that it has done to society. Interviews with former high up employees of Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram shed light on the fact that these programs and tech giants are exploiting their users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, and how the design of each of these programs is meant to addict the user. Also included are interviews with psychologists, founders of the Center for Humane Technology, and other experts to show that these tools are doing more harm than good.

It’s well worth watching, for no other reason than to keep these things in mind when using social media, and the ways in which they are tearing families, friendships, and society apart, and why you exhibit certain behaviors on social media. It’s not a native human response, it’s your response to manipulation.

Here’s a book list for further reading if you would like to learn more about the ways in which our minds and behavior are changed by social media usage.

How to guide children using social media

Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology by Diana Graber 

Raising Humans in a Digital World shows how digital kids must learn to navigate this environment

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American Girls: social media and the secret lives of teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

Award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales crisscrossed the country talking to more than two hundred girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen about their experiences online and off.

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Screen Smart Parenting : how to find balance and benefit in your child’s use of social media, apps, and digital devices  by Jodi Gold MD

Dr. Gold weaves together scientific knowledge and everyday practical advice to help you foster your child's healthy relationship to technology, from birth to the teen years.


Raising a screen smart kid: embrace the good and avoid the bad in the digital age by Julianna Miner

Drawing on research and interviews with educators, psychologists, and kids themselves, Raising a Screen-Smart Kid offers practical advice on how parents can help their kids avoid the pitfalls and reap the benefits of the digital age.


Raising Generation Tech: preparing your children for a media-fueled world by Jim Taylor

In Raising Generation Tech,  noted parenting and new-media expert Dr. Jim Taylor explores how popular culture and technology shape children's lives.

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Screenwise: helping kids thrive (and survive) in their digital world by Devorah Heitner

Screenwise offers a realistic and optimistic perspective on how to thoughtfully guide kids in the digital age.

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Privacy Concerns

Data and Goliath: the hidden battles to collect and control your world by Bruce Schneier

We cooperate with corporate surveillance because it promises us convenience, and we submit to government surveillance because it promises us protection. The result is a mass surveillance society of our own making. But have we given up more than we’ve gained? In Data and Goliath, security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path, one that values both security and privacy.

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Hacking the Future: Privacy, identity, and anonymity on the web by Cole Stryker

The author explores the rich history of anonymity in politics, literature and culture, while also debunking the notion that only troublemakers fear revealing their identities to the world.

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Exploding Data: Reclaiming our cyber security in the digital age by Michael Chertoff

In this bracing book, Michael Chertoff makes clear that our laws and policies surrounding the protection of personal information, written for an earlier time, need to be completely overhauled in the Internet era.

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The Known Citizen: The History of privacy in modern America Sarah  Igo

The Known Citizen reveals how privacy became the indispensable language for monitoring the ever-shifting line between our personal and social selves.



Information Wars: How we Lost the global battle against disinformation and what we can do about it by Richard Stengal

In a narrative that is by turns dramatic and eye-opening, Information Wars walks readers through of this often frustrating battle.

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The Social Media Upheaval by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Social media giants are poisoning our journalism, our politics, our relationships and ultimately our minds. Glenn Reynolds looks at the up and downsides of social media and at proposals for regulation, and offers his own fix that respects free speech while reducing social media's toll.

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Likewar: The weaponization of social media by PW Singer and Emerson T Brooking
Through the weaponization of social media, the internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the internet


Think Before You Like: social media’s effect on the brain and the tools you need to navigate your newsfeed by Guy P Harrison

This book will teach you how to resist the psychological and behavioral manipulation of social media and avoid the mistakes that millions have already made and now regret.


Strategies for breaking the habit or addiction

How to break up with your phone by Catherine Price

This book will teach you how to resist the psychological and behavioral manipulation of social media and avoid the mistakes that millions have already made and now regret.


Deep Work: Rules for focused success in a distracted world by Cal Newport

Deep Work is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.


Digital Minimalism: choosing a focused life in a noisy world by Cal Newport

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them.


The Power of off: the mindful way to stay sane in a virtual world by Nancy Colier

Effective mindfulness practices for transforming your relationship with technology and reconnecting with your real life

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Irresistible: the rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked by Adam Alter

In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible.


How to do nothing : resisting the attention economy by Jenny O’Dell

Far from the simple anti-technology screed, or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism.

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The social impact of digital connection

The End of Absence: reclaiming what we’ve lost in a world of constant connection by Michael Harris

In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes we're experiencing, the most interesting is the end of absence-the loss of lack.


Alone Together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other by Sherry Turkle

MIT professor Sherry Turkle argues that as technology ramps up, our emotional lives ramp down.


Against the machine: being human in the age of the electronic mob by Lee Siegel

Siegel’s argument isn’t a Luddite intervention against the Internet itself but rather a bracing appeal for us to contend with how it is transforming us all. Dazzlingly erudite, full of startlingly original insights, and buoyed by sharp wit, Against the Machine will force you to see our culture—for better and worse—in an entirely new way.


Zero Hour for Gen X: How the last adult generation can save America from millennials by Matthew Hennessey

In Zero Hour for Gen X, Matthew Hennessey calls on his generation, Generation X, to take a stand against tech-obsessed millennials, apathetic baby boomers, utopian Silicon Valley “visionaries,” and the menace to top them all: the soft totalitarian conspiracy known as the Internet of Things

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The United States of Distraction  by Michey Huff and Nolan Higdon

Written in the spirit of resistance and hope, United States of Distraction offers a clear, concise appraisal of our current situation, and presents readers with action items for how to improve it.

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Terms of Service: social media and the price of constant connection by Jacob Silverman

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