Monday, 05 Dec 2022

Its not moral panic, its reality: Todd Sampson documentary interrogates internets toxic influence

Its not moral panic, its reality: Todd Sampson documentary interrogates internets toxic influence


Its not moral panic, its reality: Todd Sampson documentary interrogates internets toxic influence

Todd Sampson's documentary about how the internet is a giant, unregulated psychological experiment that is changing us is not alarmist, it's just reality, the former advertising executive says.

In his two-part film, Mirror Mirror: Love & Hate, Sampson shows us first hand the mind-altering power of technology; a technology so intoxicating children choose the online world over the real world and a grown man falls in love with a customised chatbot.

"Generally people who make the claim that it's moral panic are people without children," Sampson says ahead of the show airing over two nights on Channel Ten in Australia. "Because if you have kids you realise it is not moral panic, it is just reality."

Mirror Mirror is timely, coming as it does the week after the UK coroner found social media contributed to a teenager's death, leading a depressed girl down a dark path of disturbing content, and has similar themes to the 2020 Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma.

"I no longer see it as moral panic or alarm but as an important use of my voice," Sampson says. "I understand people that maybe don't have kids or people that are really into the tech companies won't like it. But I just presented the range of stories, starting with a 14-month-old all the way up to a 65-year-old."

His passion for the material is infectious and he has tracked down some extraordinary personal stories which certainly ram home the message and make the case for more regulation.

A former chief executive of the ad agency Leo Burnett Australia, Sampson has turned his back on the industry and embraced a career in television. He has produced and presented a series of films including Life on the Line, Body Hack and Redesign My Brain, as well as the first series of Mirror Mirror which focused on body image.

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