Are you really still watching Netflix?

Will Drury, opinions writer

“Are you still watching The Office?”

If you own a Netflix account, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen this message. Maybe it wasn’t The Office, but there has probably been a time when you watched a show for so long that Netflix begins to question whether you’re still alive. Not having to think while silently enjoying your favorite show can sometimes be a nice break from school stress. But now with no end to how long you can watch, doing nothing is a whole lot easier and staying focused on homework is a whole lot harder.

Doing homework is exhausting after a few hours, and taking a short break helps keep students sane. When I was younger, my family and I would all take a break the same time each night to watch our favorite shows. We knew exactly when they came on, and the minute afterward we were back to work, but now with Netflix I don’t have to stop watching.

With no time limit on the number of shows I can watch on Netflix, there’s nothing forcing me to get back to homework (except the guilt of knowing if I don’t get it done, my grades will undoubtedly take a hit). I tell myself “just one more episode,” “just one more season” and “ just one more series” until it’s midnight and I still haven’t even started my homework. Sometimes I convince myself that I’ll wake up early to get it done, but when the time comes, I’d much rather stay in bed.

I’m not the only one who struggles pulling myself away from the screen. Students who binge-watch Netflix each night often procrastinate on homework or stay up later to get it done. Out of the 77 percent (144/187) of KHS students who own a Netflix account, 72 percent (111/154) admit to using it to procrastinate on doing homework. Either they don’t finish their work or they come to school exhausted with no sleep after having wasted hours watching shows. It’s a lose-lose situation, and the only way to solve it is to have a little discipline.

Although Netflix is great for people who have self-restraint or during long stretches of time that you can dedicate to binge-watch, it becomes a terrible addiction when you have other activities competing for time. Nobody would rather do hours of homework over watching their favorite shows, but it’s a decision students often have to make, and unfortunately many choose Netflix.

Free time is already hard to come by without the added distraction on TV. With sports, clubs, homework and spending time with friends and family, it can be difficult to find extra time to relax without cutting into other activities. Spending multiple hours a night on Netflix will almost certainly affect other more important areas of your life.

TV and movie streaming providers can be helpful tools used to relax, catch up on old shows or spend time with family and friends. The problem comes when people value their screen time above their priorities. If only homework entailed watching a season of The Office every night, we would all be set.