Does Netflix Streaming Make You Watch More?

Does Netflix Streaming Make You Watch More?

Taryn Williford
Apr 26, 2011

Have you heard of Netflix Streaming Syndrome? No, probably not. That's because it's a joke disorder term coined and defined by Brian Moylan at Gawker. You see, with so much media available at our fingertips—requiring just a simple remote click rather than a drive to Blockbuster—we're becoming empty shells of humanity more interested in speeding through a TV series than ever seeing our friends. Right?

Netflix Streaming is awesome, yeah? No more trips to Blockbuster, scanning the aisles of alphabetical New Releases when you want to stay in on Saturday afternoon and catch a flick. No more worries about late fees and if you'll really finish Titanic before it's time to take it back. And the best part? You can catch up on Fall's hit series without running back to rent another DVD after 3 episodes. Just sit at home, on the couch and point your Wiimote at the next title on your queue.

But after reading Do You Suffer From Netflix Streaming Syndrome on Gawker, we're not so sure all this new movie-streaming is a good thing:

While this innovation is great, it's also created a horrendous new ailment called Netflix Streaming Syndrome. Symptoms include:
  • Insomnia brought on by watching every episode of a compelling series in a row at the expense of getting a good night's sleep.
  • Anti-social behavior as a result of staying in and making it a "Netflix night" rather than going out in public and seeing other human beings.
  • Blackouts induced by spending an entire day watching movies back-to-back.
  • Pop culture knowledge that is a shade outdated and limited only to topics that are offered as part of the streaming package.
  • A glut of intense information about things most people don't care about, like the oeuvre of Meg Ryan or the subversive aspects of the first season of She-Ra: Princess of Power
  • A gnawing impatience when you can't watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it coupled with fits of rage when movies are not available for streaming and you must wait two whole days for an actual disc to arrive in a little red envelope in the mail.

Funny? Definitely. But it's also cause for pause. Just because you can watch the entirety of Lost in a three-day weekend doesn't mean you should.

Consider Your Health

There's health risks that increase along with added TV-watching. You're likely to weigh more when you watch more TV and get lower-quality sleep if you don't power off in time for bed. And if you're streaming on your laptop, you're probably putting all kinds of strain on your back and neck.

Take a moment to notice if you're doing more TV- and movie-watching now that Netflix Streaming has made it so easy. If so, it might be time to cut back just a bit.

How? Well here's what works for us: Visualize that Saturday afternoon streaming flick as a trip to the theater, and try to imagine you're not instantly streaming that TV episode, but catching it live on TV. You'll be back to your pre-streaming viewing habits in no time.

(Images: Flickr member sp3ccylad licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member brianjmatis licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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