Saying "No" to "Next Episode"


“Just one more,” I say, “just one more episode, then I’ll do something productive.”

Fast-forward six hours and I am still sprawled out in my bed, too emotionally invested in the lives of my favorite television characters to even consider reading the chapters assigned for my history class or writing that paper that’s due in four hours. Yet, here I am, fingers lazily moving across the trackpad on my laptop, guiding my mouse closer and closer to the “Next Episode” button. For a fleeting second, I consider the consequences of this action, but much like an addict, my will power deteriorates and with a click, all self-control is gone.

Netflix has become a nemesis to the productivity of college students everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love Netflix. I truly believe it is one of the most groundbreaking technological innovations of this decade. In fact, I probably love Netflix more than I will love my firstborn child. There is nothing wrong with loving Netflix, but much like wine and margaritas, the key to loving something so debilitating is moderation


I know, the phrase “everything in moderation” makes young collegiettes™ everywhere shudder, having flashbacks to their mothers’ singsong voice as she chanted this mantra throughout the years. But when it comes to Netflix, this phrase should be kept in mind. Much like binge eating, binge “Netflixing” is unhealthy. You may feel cozy sitting in your dark room, the only visible light being emitted from the laptop placed in front of you, but chances are, you are well on your way to developing Computer Vision Syndrome. Yes ladies, it is a real thing. Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS (not the store), is caused from prolonged use of a computer in improper lighting conditions. If you have ever experienced headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, or any sort of vision impairment after undergoing a Netflix binge, you probably have CVS. Tragic, I know. While this may not be life threatening, it certainly is not good for you or your eyes.

Another problem that often arises during the act of binge “Netflixing” is lack of exercise. I mean, come on, lying horizontally in a sea of fluffy blankets isn’t doing your body any favors. Think back to the times when you knew you should be going to the gym, but the allure of Chad Michael Murray on “One Tree Hill” kept you in bed, eyes glued to the computer screen, saying a silent prayer that he and Peyton would finally admit that they loved each other. We’ve all done it. We tend to prioritize our lives around wants instead of needs. And in that moment, you wanted Chad Michael Murray more than you have ever wanted anything in your life. Even more than the bikini-ready body you want to have before the holidays in preparation for Spring Break.

Perhaps the most critical consequence of binge “Netflixing” is that, while you are very much involved in your favorite characters’ lives, you forget to live your own. This could be procrastinating schoolwork (which is highly ironic, considering you are at college to do work, right?) or even missing out on hanging out with friends to catch up on your favorite Netflix series. There have been countless occasions that I have asked a friend to grab dinner or lunch, only to have them respond with two words (and an occasional emojji): Sorry, Netflix. I, too, am guilty of committing the same act of “Netflix Ditch”--we all are, but now is the time to change. Our generation as a whole needs to work towards unplugging and living; technology is always going to play a pivotal role in our lives, but we need to take steps towards preventing technology from dictating our lives.

Let’s make a promise to ourselves that we will limit our consumption of online television. No matter how disturbingly alluring “Orange is the New Black” can be, we will tell ourselves to only watch one or two episodes at the most in one sitting. Instead of watching an entire season of “Gossip Girl” in 24 hours time, limit yourself to one a day, allowing you to get your life together while also making the season last longer, thus more Chuck Bass for your viewing pleasure. Treat yourself with an episode of “Mad Men” after reading that excruciating chapter from your business law textbook; you may even learn a thing or two. At the end of the day, moderation is simple if you give it a chance.