The move-in checklist for college freshman contains all of your basics; textbooks, mini fridges, sheets, and lamps. However, there is a new item that is commonly added to student’s lists; Netflix. The success of Netflix originals, such as “Stranger Things,” “Black Mirror” and “Haunting at Hill House” has given the company a lot of recent publicity, leading to an increase of monthly subscriptions, in both the regular population, and college students.
In a new survey of college students in the United States, lead by LendEDU, only eight percent of students said they didn’t have access to a Netflix account. That means that a whopping 92 percent of college students have access to Netflix movie and television content. Of those students, 37 percent said that they watched Netflix on a daily basis.
However, that doesn’t mean all students pay for Netflix. 54 percent of college students in the United States who responded to LendEDU’s study said they use a friend’s or family member’s account, and 5 percent said they used an account owned by their significant other or an ex boyfriend or girlfriend. Only 34 percent of users said that they owned their own account. The company has always taken a laid-back approach to password sharing. Netflix once stated in an interview with Business Insider, “As long as they aren’t selling them, members can use their passwords however they please.”
Students often start out pretty innocently. They think they’ll just watch once episode after class and then get started with their homework. Yet, the cliffhanger at the end makes them feel like they need to watch the next one, eventually watching three, four, or even five episodes in a row. This is called binge-watching, something almost every college student will experience at one point or another. Cliffhangers at the end of episodes can make it especially hard for students to stop after they become interested in a show.
While everyone does it occasionally, binge-watching shows regularly is not a very healthy practice. Loss of sleep and irregular sleep patterns are some of the downfalls. If absences due to lack of sleep start to become an issue, professors may take notice. This can have a big impact on a student’s grades. Binge-watching regularly can also lead to loneliness or depression. This stems from the lacking sense of control that comes with watching several episodes in a row and simultaneously letting homework and other projects pile up.
However, Netflix does have some benefits. The concept of “Netflix and Chill” has inspired many jokes and memes, and on the surface, it’s easy to see why. However, a new study shows that Netflix and Chill can be great for your relationship—and not just because you spend all those hours cozying up on the couch together.
Previous research has shown that couples who have mutual friends tend to have stronger relationships than couples that don’t. But a new study points out that if your partner and you don’t share a social circle, fictional characters can strengthen your bond.
“Having a shared connection to the characters in a TV series or film might make couples feel like they share a social identity even if they lack mutual friends in the real world,” Sarah Gomillion, who has a PhD, explained in an interview with Health.com. Netflix can also have the same effect on friendships. This is especially true in friends that don’t see each other often, or who also run in different social circles.
So, while binge-watching on your couch with your friends or significant other shouldn’t be the only thing you do all weekend, or the only time you spend together, we can stop rendering it as such a guilty pleasure. The key is to enjoy Netflix is in moderation, and ensure that you’re up to date on the latest TV series, but are not spending all day sucked into your computer screen.
Lindsay Gibbons can be contacted at