It doesn’t come as a surprise that Netflix accounts for over 30% of the total internet bandwidth in peak hours. We all might be familiar with the term called “Binge Watching”. In Binge Watching you watch 2 to 3 episodes in a day. Binge watching days are long gone now and new TV series has got people into TV Marathons today. One such a case propped up last week at the Service for Healthy use of Technology clinic at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore, India where a 36-year-old unemployed man had shut himself into a streaming screen for six months.
It does come as a surprise given the time we have lived in. Technological advancements have made the man more dependent and less dexterous. The IT revolution in the past decade has from the 90s till date has changed the course of the way media and broadcasting functioned. Television programs specifically in India have increased exponentially from being streamed at 2 channels to 500 on your set-top-box today. The transition from cable providers to V-SAT dish connections and now to the internet has called for a major paradigm shift, first observed by the launch of YouTube. Our insatiable appetite for digital video has been growing since then. Facts say video streaming worldwide accounts for 70% of the total network traffic and which is forecasted at 90% by 2020. This rapid expansion has been possible through infrastructural development. Along with the CDNs and private networks owned by Facebook, Google, and Netflix etc.
As far as Netflix is concerned this is what the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, has to say, “We are competing with sleep, on the margin. Think about it: when you watch a show on Netflix you get addicted to it. Then you stay up all night.” The unhealthy behavior of sticking to screens from the past has now turned into a modern culture. Netflix has turned into an addiction and just like any other addiction you don’t control it but controlled by it. The horrors of digital media and TV show addiction is manifested by the case like these, ones that are reported. The way out of this deadlock of Netflix addiction and you being unaware of the same lays either in therapy or self-help. Either way, you take a break from the screens to come back after a long time or maybe never.
Netflix is one amongst many, and its addiction. The broader question apart from Netflix addiction emanates from the existence of disorders like Nomophobia: Phobia of staying out of cellular contact for a long time. Internet addiction disorder, De Quervain syndrome and many more similar syndromes are the monuments of human stupidity and addiction. The technology has taken us far but we have boxed ourselves in says, Charlie Chaplin. Attached to our private screens, which come in 5 inches or 17. We are affecting our social lives and our psychological health. Turning into a technologically equipped dystopia, the smartphone-driven society of dumb people will make the movie Matrix soon, a documentary.