American Culture

A Millennial’s struggle: Cutting through Netflix’s noise

By Whitney Downard

netflix_logoHello, my name is Whitney and I’m addicted to Netflix.

Netflix, as a company, has only existed since 1997. Streaming on Netflix began in 2007, according to company website.

Yet Netflix has redefined the college experience for many students.

We watch Netflix while we study. “Netflix and chill” is how we date. Our recommendations for new movies or shows usually end with, “It’s on Netflix.”

If it isn’t on Netflix, I probably won’t watch it. As I write this, I’m streaming Netflix. I feel like I can’t do any work unless I have a show playing in the background. Netflix has become an integral part of my life.

I keep myself busy. With everything on my calendar, I can’t predictably schedule television shows or movie marathons with roommates. I need my shows to be available when I am, whether it’s 1 p.m. or 1 a.m., and Netflix perfectly satisfies that need.

I use Netflix to escape, to relax and to procrastinate. I finish each day with an episode on Netflix (and sometimes fall asleep to it). If I’m not currently engrossed in a show, I’m looking for a new one. If an episode ends with a cliffhanger, Netflix lets me start the next episode immediately.

At the same time, I hate Netflix. I’m afraid to tally all of the hours I have spent on Netflix this year. Netflix, a welcome break from a stressful student life, costs me valuable time.

I once watched an entire season of Mad Men in one sitting. It didn’t seem like much at the time, but that’s about 10 hours. Those 10 hours could have been spent driving from Washington D.C. to Chicago. Or learning to play the guitar. I can’t remember the last time I got ten hours of sleep.

I, and too many other college students, use Netflix too much. All the time I spend streaming could be spent differently, such as learning a new language or writing the next great American novel.

Instead of queuing up Netflix every time I open my laptop, I need to sever the umbilical cord. Cutting down on my Netflix consumption will give me more free time to explore new interests and increase my productivity.

With all those extra hours, I’ll even have time to watch this 10-hour video of Shia LaBeouf’s ‘DO IT.’

Whitney Downard is a senior journalism and mass communication major at St. Bonaventure University. She also likes cats.