What’s not to love about Netflix? You can sit down in front of your computer or phone and stream all sorts of TV shows, movies and documentaries, many of which you can’t get anywhere else. It sure beats driving to the video store to search through the aisles to find what you want to watch or going through sketchy, virus-laden sites before finding a link you can actually stream. But too much of anything, including Netflix, can be a bad thing. According to the site CordCutting, that’s exactly what’s happening. They have calculated that the average American spends more time watching Netflix than participating in sports or exercise, relaxing, thinking, reading or even socializing and communicating.
According to Netflix, the average subscriber spends around 100 minutes every day using the streaming service. That doesn’t seem like much; just a couple episodes of House of Cards or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. But then you compare that to some stats from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: they say that the average American spends 17 minutes doing physical activity, 17 minutes relaxing, 19 minutes reading and 38 minutes socializing. Needless to say, the fact that we spend more time using Netflix than all other activities combined is a little concerning.
CordCutting pointed out that the data they gathered came from two different sources: the BLS only samples data from Americans, while Netflix’s data samples users from across the world. While it isn’t clear whether or not Netflix users are inherently less social than those who don’t use it, you can still assume that they’ll generally spend as much time on Netflix as they will socializing. Americans aren’t known for their active lifestyles, so it’s unlikely that including international subscribers into the Netflix stats will heighten the contrast.
This is undoubtedly a disturbing study, but it doesn’t take one thing into consideration: the tendency of Netflix users to multitask. It’s perfectly common to have friends over to catch up on Peaky Blinders, watch Master of None while on the treadmill or have Bob’s Burgers on the corner of their computer screen on a slow day at work. Do people just vegetate in front of their screen while watching Mad Men or Making a Murderer? Sometimes. Is it a problem? Absolutely, but we need to look into the issue further before we lay the blame flatly on Daredevil or Arrested Development.