Netflix and Its Impact on Society
There are three main areas where the constant flow of new shows on Netflix and other online video streaming sites is drawing in binge watchers from all over the world and potentially distracting them from their everyday tasks. As Netflix dumps full series online, people are no longer watching just one episode of some particular show each week. They are now watching television and online series in a way that changes how they spend their time. These binge watchers are being drawn in from everyday households, from college campuses, and even from the workforce.
The Netflix Effect
People justify spending time in the evening in front of a television or computer for many reasons. A lot of people want to relieve stress from a hard day at work or just take some time to slow down for the night. Everyday households with a Netflix account can sit down in front of a television, start watching a series and escape from reality. But suddenly, hours and hours have gone by and the one episode the household sat down to watch has now become many episodes. This problem of people losing track of time while watching series television shows is being called the “Netflix Effect.” People find that they cannot just watch one episode of a show because they have to find out what happens next. Then people find that they cannot just watch one season of a show because they were left hanging and need to find out what happens next. After hours and hours have passed sitting in front of a television or computer, some households are now asking whether or not watching Netflix is really a positive way to relieve stress or if it is actually taking up most of their free time.
According to reports, teens, adults, and even children are being impacted by the “Netflix Effect.” The disadvantages for teens who binge watch television include slipping grades, being late to work or class, not going outside to be active thereby gaining weight, and closing themselves off from having a social life. In the adult world, I can share a personal example where my boss was late coming into work because he and his wife had gotten hooked on the new season of the Netflix show entitled Stranger Things Chapter 2. When I lived in Germany one of my very close friends had a hard time getting his three-year-old daughter to do anything other than watch her favorite cartoon that was being aired on Netflix. These are just a few examples of how everyday households are not immune to the “Netflix Effect.”
Netflix and Chill
Online video streaming and Netflix have become popular among college crowds. Now that I am a college student and living in a college community, I am able to see firsthand the effect these online streaming networks have on friends and fellow students. I see it multiple times a week with my roommates not to mention the others who live around us. There have been many times that I will be coming home late from work, well past midnight, and see the faint light of a television or computer screen coming from neighboring apartments. So, what is going on late at night in college apartments? A commonly used term in the college world is “Netflix and Chill.” There is not a real definition for the term “Netflix and Chill.” The understood meaning goes something like this: invite someone of the opposite sex over, pick a random show from Netflix, start watching the show, and then make out with your date while episode after episode plays in the background. It is easy to see how people are finding new and interesting ways to integrate Netflix into their college lifestyle.
Does Netflix work at work?
The work environment is another area that is not immune to the Netflix problem of binge watching. More employers are catching on to the Netflix craze and its potential harm in the workplace. One application I recently filled out had a section under Terms and Conditions that made me stop and do a double take. It stated something along the lines of, “This is not a Netflix job!” A lot of people are using their work time to do a little work and watch a lot of Netflix. Just yesterday I was at a carwash where my friend was sitting in a booth checking in cars for the speed wash tunnel. She was watching That 70’s Show on Netflix while she waited for cars to drive up to her booth. As employers are getting smarter about what their employees are doing on the job, they are beginning to set new rules about paid work time. Some employees can no longer get away with binge watching at work or even taking an extended lunch to finish an episode.
In conclusion, Netflix has become something that affects many lives in many areas. This new idea of binge watching television or online series is robbing people of valuable time that they can never get back. Average households are dealing with the “Netflix Effect” while colleges deal with the “Netflix and Chill” concept of dating, and workplaces struggle to get their employees to actually work. But, watching Netflix does not have to turn into something negative. Netflix can be a good stress reliever and create family fun time. It is a great source for watching movies or even catching up on some of favorite shows. The challenge is about finding enough self control to create a healthy balance between relaxation and wasting time. Watching Netflix, like anything, just needs to be done in moderation.