Blog 4

For this blog post, I watched “Arkangel”, from the Netflix series, Black Mirror. 

In this episode, a mother got a “chip” inserted into her child which allowed her to track her by GPS, view the world from her eyes, and “filter” out things that she did not want her child to see. The mother had a tablet in which she could control all of these features. Things seemed to work out in her favor as she could protect her daughter, until around age 10. The daughter became curious as to what she could not see, because of the “filter” being on. When the mother decided it was time to turn off the filter and pack away her tablet, that is when the daughter felt free. She became more open to the real world and was exposed to “bad” things for the first time. As years went on, she became a teenager, and as we all know, that is when we become more exposed to things that mothers wish they could know about. Long story short, and in my attempt to not “spoil” the episode, her mother began surveillancing her daughter again, without her knowing. She saw things that she wished she didn’t, and decided to be the overprotective mother that she is, and try to control things again. I would even say that she was being watched in one of the most extreme ways, as in her health was being closely surveilled as well. 

This episode made me think about Panoptican. As the guards in the jail are surveillancing the inmates, they know they are being watched, but not when. As the girl grew up, she did not know that she was being watched, but she in fact, was. When the daughter was young, she was to act as though she was always being watched, because she knew that she was, which is the same concept as the prisoners. Is this a good thing, though? For the prisoners, maybe. It gives them a sense that they should all be on best behavior at all times, but that makes sense for them, as their rights have been taken away, for the reasoning of being a criminal. But, as a free human, I believe that is an unhealthy way of living and can do serious damage to mental health, leaving a person in a constant state of being on edge.

One Reply to “Blog 4”

  1. You know how dystopias like 1984 take one issue and expand on it to the absolute maxed-out worst scenario? Yeah, I think we just found that for the panopticon.
    I agree with you – this is not okay to do to someone on so many levels. Implanting a chip into your child so you can watch their every move from their own eyes? If that’s not invasion of privacy, I don’t know what is.
    It’s also interesting that you brought up the mental health aspect. Of course, the person being watched will probably develop a sense of paranoia from the ‘constant surveillance’, but what about the person watching? If all they do is watch, they don’t learn what the heck boundaries or privacy are. They may even develop the urge to micro-manage their charges, just like the overprotective mother. I can see them becoming the type of person that tries to establish control/dominance in every new situation, and since they’re so used to being in control with zero boundaries, they wouldn’t know how to properly compromise or act around other people. All in all, I’m not sure if the panopticon is mentally healthy for all parties involved…

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