Okay, season one, episode one of Game of Thrones. Not bad, so the next night it’s on to episode two. Then, why not watch three at a time because there are a few free hours this weekend? Before long, there’s a mini movie theater on a twin mattress, complete with laptop, assorted snacks and probably a pillow pet. This is when many college students find themselves unwittingly participating in what has come to be known as the Netflix “binge.”
Netflix users start an episode and get engrossed in the next 16, frequently calculating the amount of time they really need to get ready so they can stay and finish the season they are on.
According to a recent poll, PLNU students say they prefer to watch Netflix almost three times more often than watching traditional TV. Film professor Rick Moncauskas said this is because there are three aspects of Netflix that the average college student will be partial toward.
“I think it’s a combination of things for college students,” said Moncauskas, who is also the media operations manager for the television studio on campus. “It’s easy, it’s relatively cheap and it’s entertaining.”
Even so, PLNU professors agree that Netflix and TV both produce the same type of sedentary lifestyle.
Assistant Coach to the Track and Field team and Health and Fitness professor, Alisa Ward, said both Netflix and TV are unproductive uses of time and that, like other forms of entertainment, they should be handled in moderation.
“Make your time a little more worthwhile and engaging,” said Ward. “Are oranges bad for you? No, but eating 100 oranges is probably going to make you sick. Is Netflix bad? No, but binge watching isn’t good either.”
Dietetics professor Cindy Swann, said that despite all of the conveniences that Netflix offers over traditional television, the lifestyle concerns are much the same.
“I don’t think there is much difference,” said Swann. “Binge watching sports on TV or bad cable reality TV shows can waste just as much time as watching a TV series or several movies on Netflix.”
Swann explained that all screens can cause health issues.
“Too many “screens – Internet, computer games, phone, TV, etc. – cause a sedentary lifestyle leading to bad habits in exercise, study skills, socialization and eating,” said Swann.
So the next time the weekend is open, Ward suggests getting out to do something.
“Intramurals, ping pong tournaments in the ARC, tutoring kids at Mid-City Naz, trips with the Great Escapes,” said Ward, “pick things that are social, beneficial, helpful, engaging and though provoking.”
If watching Netflix is an absolute must, then Ward advises inserting exercise into the episodes.
“Do one of those Pinterest challenges where you do 10 pushups every time [the actors] say a certain word, or you get up and run down the stairs every time an advertisement comes up,” said Ward. “If Netflix is just ‘your thing,’ then make it better.”