What is the effect of Netflix on students?

Effect of Netflix on Students

“I was up till 4 a.m. last night, watching this amazing show!”

“You have no idea, what an amazing show I have come across, I binged it in one night!”

“Netflix is so great, did you watch that show everyone is talking about?”

As a student, you all might have heard these statements more than you have sat in lectures. Sitting down in front of your TV after a hard day at university and you choose to watch that latest show all your friends have been speaking about. Suddenly you realize that it’s past midnight and you have completed a season — now you find yourself lured to stay awake and watch one more episode of a gripping show, even after realizing that you would have to pay for it in the class, the next day. It happens with all of us. Thanks to online streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, we have access to thousands of shows choices that we can choose to watch all in one go.

Netflix is an online streaming platform that every youngster (and a few adults) is hooked to. The platform streams web-series, television series, documentaries, and movies. It is comprehensive and inclusive of the latest as well as old watching material. The genre of these movies/serials/documentaries is wide and ranges from psychological thrillers to romanticism, and is available in multiple languages. 

Watching more than three episodes in a day is known as binge-watching. Netflix and different online video streaming sites are bringing in binge-watchers from all across the world and possibly distracting them from fulfilling their everyday responsibilities. As Netflix uploads a full series online, people no longer choose to watch just one episode in a week or even a day. They are now consuming television and online serials in a manner that alters how they choose to spend their time. These binge-watchers are, are normal everyday students, or workforce who liked to read, spend time with family, and write in their free time until Netflix came. 

Binge-watching is an exercise that makes you watch and encounter the emotions that emerge from binge-watching a TV Serial. Watching a show results in contributing more time to another/virtual reality, developing more accumulative emotions. These shows grant extended time and access to the characters and unavoidably put them through more sufferings than a movie.

Today’s students can be considered to be “Netflix Students”. They stay up until late for “just a single more episode,” they consistently procrastinate their assignments and get extremely addicted to the latest shows quicker than one becomes addicted to drugs. Students adhere to Netflix because after studying, working, and writing academic assignments all through the day Netflix becomes their escape from their own issues and a window to a better life or someone else’s problem. These students don’t dislike living in their lives but they feel that forgetting about everything and immersing themselves in a show is better than facing their own problems and this is the major effect of Netflix on students.

Famous psychologists have discussed how binge-watching produces a compound in the human body, dopamine, and its result is usually a severe shift in emotions. The experience and feeling of binge-watching is the one that happens when someone is a drug or any other addict. The neuronal pathways that are known to cause heroin and sex addictions are the same ones as binge-watching addiction. The body isn’t biased against pleasure. It can grow addicted to every activity or substance that continuously generates dopamine.

Spending this huge amount of time absorbed in the lives of the characters you watch every day, portrayed on a show, boosts our experience of binge-watching. Our brains process all the experiences, that of watching on TV, live experiences, reading a book or imaginations, as ‘real’ life memories. So when watching a show/movie, the sections of the brain that are stimulated are the ones similar to when experiencing a live event. We get engulfed into the storylines, grow attached to characters, feel connected to them, and sincerely worry about the outcomes of disputes or their struggles. Various psychologists have explained the notion of ‘identification’ and how the students begin to identify themselves with the characters in a show which ultimately results in being involved as an active member in all the happenings in the lives of characters and the numerous emotions they go through.

Let’s Take A Look At The Most Critical Ones:

Students are in a habit of adhering to OTT platforms like Netflix whenever they get any free time. While taking breaks is extremely important, it is also necessary to know when to stop the break and get back to work. Netflix has numerous negative impacts on the students, physical, psychological as well as mental. Studies reveal that the natural functioning of students is usually disrupted due to a lack of sleep, their focus is constantly out of place and they are always distracted from studies and other academic projects. This distraction or habit of escapism can lead to depression, a lack of appetite, fatigue. It might reach the extent where the students are unable to cope up with their coursework, exams, and assignments. 

The adverse effects of Netflix do not just end here but affect the students in multiple other ways. A huge inclination towards Netflix can damage the confidence of students and their perception of reality. A lot of times, due to high Netflix Consumption students fail to differentiate between fiction and reality. One of the other major observations is that students become less empathetic and humility towards others and now have low self-esteem. High Netflix consumption also affects the mental health of the students and makes them feel more incompetent. It also affects their grasping ability and they take more time than usual to understand simple topics in comparison to those who are not addicted to Netflix.

A Few Major Ways In Which Netflix Affects The Students Are:

  • Lack Of Sleep
  • Bad Sleeping Patterns Affect Functioning and Productivity of the Students
  • The Attention Span of Students Decreases and They Fail to Focus on academic activities and assignments
  • Leads to depression, fatigue and a decline in appetite
  • Makes students unable to cope up with pending homework and studying for exams
  • Results in obesity
  • Students fail to differentiate fiction from reality
  • Dreams of the show they watch can make them restless
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence in reality
  • The mind starts to grasp things slow since they are always distracted with their show
  • Empathy and Humility are nowhere to be seen among these students
  • Social Circle starts to deteriorate
  • Students addicted to Netflix do not like the company of others
  • One tends to isolate themselves
  • Students lose perspective of life

Other than pleasure, we usually binge-watch to achieve psychological closure from the prior episode. However, as each fresh episode gives you more questions to be solved in the next, students can involve themselves in healthy binge-watching by establishing a pre-determined cut-off time for watching a show. For instance, students can try and commit themselves to a particular time period like for 2 hours a day or 3 but ensure that you stick to it and should pay major attention to their tertiary education. If fixing a specific time limit doesn’t help you in your binge-watching and it gets difficult to stop in the middle of an episode, try committing to the number of episodes that you would watch in a day.

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