I came to a realization the other day that I have a major problem. I’m addicted to Netflix. Now don’t get me wrong. I love Netflix and think they’re a great company. I’ve been a member since 1997 when they started.
I was so excited when I heard their idea of mailing movies to your house because I’ve always loved movies and this was perfect. I had been using Blockbuster or something along those lines for years for my movies and I constantly found myself paying late fees and I felt they had horrible customer service and it was a pain waiting in line, etc.
Anyway, I joined Netflix because I love movies and for the first several years all I did was watch movies from them. Then a few years back a few things changed. Netflix started offering streaming and they started producing their own shows.
Until this point I had never rented a show from Netflix. Only movies. I think it all started with House of Cards. It was and still is a great series. And what happened to me is instead of watching an episode and having to wait a whole week to see what happens I had access to the entire season. So instead of taking 2-3 months to complete a season I watched the entire season in 1-2 weeks..ok maybe it was 5 days.
And so it began. It didn’t happen at first but after a while what would happen is I would finish a season of one show and then immediately I would have to start watching the next season and once I ran out of seasons I had to find a new show and this went on and on and instead of spending 1.5-2 hours watching a movie I was watching movies that were 10 to 60 hours or longer. Because that’s what these series are when you have access to all of them. One long ass movie.
And I’m pretty sure our subconscious mind starts to confuse characters we know on shows with people we know in real life. Ever notice how attached you get to these characters? Something bad happens to them and you’re on the verge of tears. Something good happens to them and you’re super happy for them.
I noticed this with the characters I was seeing once a week in their shows. This is part of what makes a show so great. We build an emotional attachment to made up characters and we even do this with characters that are very bad people. I loved the show Sons of Anarchy. I loved the character Jax. But let’s face it. He was a really really bad person.
I loved the show but I was so glad when it ended. The show got me so emotionally wound up every time I watched it. There was so much tension and it made me so stressed out. And that was from seeing it once a week. What happens when we binge watch shows like that?
I tried to find some research on it but couldn’t find anything worth noting. Please share if you’re aware of any.
So anyway, I was on Season 2, Episode 7 of Daredevil and I thought to myself, I don’t even like this show that much and I realized the only reason I was watching it was because I finished a show and Daredevil popped up in my Netflix recommendations and it had a great rating on IMDB and I decided to start watching it and it had good action but overall I didn’t find it that compelling.
And it occurred to me that I was addicted to watching series on Netflix and I made a decision to stop watching it cold turkey. Was I a little curious about what was going to happen on Daredevil? Yes, of course. But I was more afraid of finishing the show and getting sucked into another show.
I’m not saying I’ll never watch another show again. I still have my Netflix subscription. I just wanted to do an experiment and see what would happen by cutting these shows out of my life. And in just the first week I noticed a difference. When I was watching these shows it was usually right before going to bed and I found that I had scenes running through my head and I know this affected my sleep.
I now wonder what affect this had on my subconscious mind. What does the replaying of violent scenes in my mind before going to sleep do and does this continue to go on while I sleep? I don’t have any data other than anecdotal but I have to think it can’t be good.
I don’t know if you have noticed this or not but a lot of people are addicted to reality TV. Reality TV tends to be overly dramatic. Some people that I know that watch a lot of these shows also tend to be overly dramatic. Is there a correlation? You tell me. Start to pay attention to these things.
I’m not telling you to quit TV. But be aware of how it affects you. Be aware of how it affects those around you. Things have changed. I didn’t have cable until I was in my teens. I grew up having one pretty small, low def TV in my house. We now have large TVs and high def at our fingertips everywhere we go. There’s a huge difference.
I gave myself permission to watch a movie a week but since I quit Daredevil I haven’t had a desire. Instead I’ve been reading more before bed and instead of sleeping on the scenes from whatever show I was watching I’m sleeping on some knowledge of something that interests me. I also find that my thinking is clearer and I have better quality thoughts.
If any of you decide to do this experiment for yourself I would love to hear your observations.