Social Animals

Movie review by Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media
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Common Sense says

age 14+

Insightful docu looks at pros, cons of Instagram; language.

NR 2018 87 minutes

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 2 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 13+

Eyeopening

The movie, Social Animals is a Netflix documentary sharing 3 stories of teenagers - "a daredevil photographer, an aspiring model, and a lonely Ohio girl - and Instagram's impact on their lives. (Netflix)" Each one expresses how social media directly influenced them and their personal lives, all in very different ways. For the photographer, Humza Deas, he found that Instagram helped him build an online community of photographers, pushing him to his creative and physical limits. Kaylyn Slevin, a teen Instagram influencer, expressed her desire to become Instagram famous and start her own fashion line. While she appeared very positive and upbeat in this documentary, there was definitely a reality of seeking fulfillment and identity from numbers, statistics, and affirmations through social media. Finally, Emma Crockett shared her personal testimony of how cyberbullying through Instagram spiraled her into depression, leading her to attempt suicide, thankfully, unsuccessfully. In all of these teenagers testimonies, light was shed about the different ways Instagram specifically affects other people differently - creatively, financially, and socially. Amongst all this, there is a questioning of worth and identity throughout all 3 stories, as they sought understanding in who the are and what they mean to others. The documentary leaves off with how each teenager uses Instagram today but with a feeling of unsettlement and lack of answers. This is simply because identity and self-worth cannot be found in social media, or even in being featured in a Netflix documentary. This goes to show that we as humans are made for so much more than just social, technological, creative, or financial success.

This title has:

Great messages
age 12+

Valuable information for teens and pre-teens

I think that the insight into the impact of social media (focus on Instagram) is absolutely necessary for kids to see as they begin to dive into these platforms head first without necessarily knowing the implications of their actions. While the language is somewhat explicit, the benefits of middle and high-schoolers seeing this film far outweigh any possible negative impacts of some swearing, which by this age they should understand can be used in certain contexts (i.e. not in professional or academic settings). I would highly recommend this movie be screened for 8th graders or high school freshmen, follows by a discussion about using Instagram responsibly and realizing that words and actions have consequences. Letting the students drive the conversation could help them navigate cyber bullying situations, issues with body image, and the legality of certain actions through DMs and photography.

This title has:

Great messages

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