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Binge-watching and Netflix dependency – an ever-growing problem in today’s society

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I’ll be the first to admit it. There have been times where I was reluctant to get out of bed some days so I can just hide away watch the rest of a TV series. Recently, I did just that. It turns out that over three hours had passed by that day and I was caught in a sensation of grief and regret soon after. I found out from this experience that TV producers are just too good at their craft, that cliff-hangers keep you intrigued and wanting more, and Hollywood knows how to steal your time. I hate to point fingers, but the online entertainment megastar Netflix is one of the reasons why people waste so much time today. Precious time, that is. (Well, it is is our own fault for wasting time, but Netflix certainly makes it possible!) What I’m trying to say is that with so much to choose to watch and rewatch on a network such as Netflix, that temperance and moderation shrivels up and more often than not disappears before our eyes.

 

Per a Ericcson 2016 data survey, 15% of the total 129-minutes an average person spends watching TV every day is spent on just looking for something to watch. That’s 19.35 minutes per viewing experience. To emphasize that, in a 80 year time span, that’s more than 1.3 years spent looking for something to watch, not actually watching anything! That’s a person, sitting down on their worn-out leather living room couch, scrolling, analyzing, and debating every movie, cartoon, documentary, and TV show Netflix has to offer.

 

As if looking for something to watch wasn’t bad enough, Deloitte’s Technology Media & Telecommunications discovered that as of 2016, 70 percent of Americans (and 90 percent of US millennials) have or still indulge in binge watching behaviors. In 2016, more than 8.4 million people confessed to actually binge watching TV shows and movies on Netflix. And check this crazy statistic: “Between 2013 and 2016, the number of people who [completed] a series on the day of its released increased 20 times over” (McCall –iflscience!). 20 times over. Let that sink in. That’s essentially shrugging off Stranger Things 2  in less than 13 hours. These numbers pose the seemingly obvious yet necessary question: is such behavior healthy?

 

The blunt answer is no, but the harder question to answer is how to stop it. The constant stare at your phone, computer, or TV screen is a recipe of eye strain and possible deterioration of eyesight over time. A lack of self control and moderation in entertainment and the enjoyment of films and TV series leads to hours upon hours wasted in the day, a lessening of human interaction, and the unwillingness to be productive.

 

But if people, (primarily adolescents and millennials) don’t have the desire or willingness to moderate what they watch and for how long they watch something on entertainment platforms, what possibly could?

 

One way for this problem of binge watching and it’s increasingly normality to be brought up more often is at schools. The solution lies within addressing it now, because it’s so prominent, and encouraging students to control what they watch, issue accountability to their friends and family, and find entertainment and relaxation in other places.

 

And yet another way for binge watching to be slowed and called to attention more is “unpopularizing” the concept in its entirety. Through memes, tweets, posts, and photos on social media platforms, news outlets and the internet in general, the idea of binge watching and racing to become the first to complete a TV season (in what Netflix now calls “binge racing”) is portrayed as an accomplishment worth achieving. To address an overlooked yet dangerous topic such as “binge watching”, you have to first identify and then change the narrative. People need to start realizing that sitting down watching a TV series for hours on end isn’t healthy, isn’t beneficial to productivity, increases negative emotions following the completion of such behaviors, and simply wastes their time. Precious time, that is.

 

Let’s address one of the biggest problems in today’s society: the lack of temperance. Whether that be through an over usage in social media platforms, the abstinence thereof, or the complete submergence in entertainment sites such as Netflix, let’s call to attention the ever growing problem of America today, before it’s well too late.

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Orcutt Academy High School News and Event
Binge-watching and Netflix dependency – an ever-growing problem in today’s society