Nothing quite compares to the warm and fuzzy, excited feeling you get when another season of your favorite show has been put on Netflix.
Binge-watching on-demand television has become Internet users’ favorite pastime. I remember the times of DVD box sets. It took slightly more effort to move as quickly from one episode to the next, with disc changing, reminding you that, yes, you are in fact going to watch another five episodes of “Gossip Girl” after the last five you just watched.
Streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime have perfected the art of the instant TV show. At our fingertips is a world of instant seasons of “Orange is the New Black” and “Sons of Anarchy.” I’ve even ventured as far as reliving my childhood and binge-watching “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”
The problem with submerging ourselves into so much all at once is this: Are we addicted to online streaming? As college students, is Netflix overload becoming a problem and effecting studies? The fact that I had a strong urge to go watch the next episodes of “Marco Polo” instead of write this article should be evidence that, yes, the pull of Netflix is strong.
An addiction is a stimulus – we do something because it feels good, despite the consequences.
How many times have students shown up late to a class, bags under their eyes, complaining they binge-watched Netflix until early morning hours? It feels terrible after it happens, even though they were all for it while it was happening the night before. Is that not addiction? Perhaps not on as large a scale as drugs or gambling, but who is to say the consequences couldn’t grow to where people start dismissing everyday responsibilities, and in turn their education?
One problem college students might have is with the commitment risks. To have a relationship with Netflix, students need to manage time well or else get caught up in the alternate universe of endless hours of movies and TV. Maybe a homework assignment gets missed because you were watching Netflix. Or you think, “I’ll still get enough sleep if I watch just one more episode,” and one episode turns into four. I’d like to think that some people wouldn’t let the repercussions get worse than that, but I also know we are only human, and when we get hooked, we have the risk of sinking.
Logically thinking, the solution to the stream and binge cycle is self-control. Set timers on your smartphone to stop watching at certain times or reminders that you do still in fact have a paper due in two days that is vital to passing a class. Keep in mind that Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf’s love chaos will still be there after the work gets done.