Why is Netflix an Addiction?

Over the course of the past five years I have seen a collective total of twenty-five different television shows. This is why I would consider watching Netflix to be one of my guilty pleasures during my spare time. One episode after another passes and before you know it you’ve already seen five episodes of your favorite television show in just one sitting. How could that even happen one may ask. That is because Netflix is an addiction. With a multitude of options to choose from just at the convenience of your fingertips it’s hard not to get sucked into the world of Netflix. My underlying question here is why has Netflix become such an addiction to so many people aside from myself?


Study One

The company Harris Interactive conducted a study on behalf of Netflix that consisted of approximately 1,500 participants. They used a survey in order to conduct the study and took into account age, sex, race/ethnic background, education, region, and income to complete a thorough analysis. In this study, the company wanted to see how many people binge watched Netflix on a regular basis. Out of the 1,500 participants, 61 percent of people binge watched regularly. In addition, 73 percent of people binge watched between 2-6 episodes of the same show and the same percentage of people were also noted to have positive feelings about binge watching Netflix.

In order to provide additional information about the study, the following statistical information will be listed:

  • 76 percent of people found that watching several episodes of a television show of choice helped them to relax.
  • 79 percent of participants find that watching several episodes of their show of choice make it a more enjoyable experience for them.
  • 76 percent of streamers said that watching Netflix on their own time is their preference.

This cross-sectional study did not suffer from the file-drawer problem since it was published and was also able to reflect the theory that Netflix is an addiction. In addition, the study did have a causality because there was a relationship between the participant and the Netflix television show the viewers chose to watch. I think using a survey method was the best thing to do for a study like this. However, some people may be embarrassed by how much they watch Netflix and chose not to answer the questions on the survey truthfully which would alter the results and potentially the conclusion. In order to avoid this for future studies, a case control study could be a good alternative.


Study Two

Light has been found to be a large factor of an individual’s regulation of sleep. Something as simple as having a light on can alter a wake cycle which is why when it’s late at night and the light from your laptop is on from watching Netflix it can keep you awake. According to recent studies that have been conducted, bright lights such can increase the amount of serotonin in individual’s brains. For those who do not know what serotonin is, according to Medical News Today it is a neurotransmitter that contributes to the feeling of happiness and is what keeps one in a good mood. This means that not only can an individual watch more television due to the bright light omitting from the screen, once can do so happily.

This was an observational study because the researchers observed the findings in participants’ brains. Since it was observational, there was no bias present. Another alternative to this study would have been implementing a randomized controlled trial. That way, they would be able to implement various methods and techniques into the study to make it more effective.


Take Home Message

I used two different studies because I thought it would be a good way to gather more information on the topic. Both of the studies focused on different reasons as to why Netflix is an addiction. Ultimately, I think that another part as to why it is can be due to compulsiveness as well as boredom. In addition, Netflix is also just an enjoyable pastime. I think the first study was stronger because it provided more statistical information to back up the claims of the study whereas the second study was discussing about a concept. Overall, I think that both of the studies presented accurate information and reasons as to why Netflix is an addiction.

7 thoughts on “Why is Netflix an Addiction?

  1. Jordan Crawford

    I’ll be the first to say I binge watch. This artical is interesting to read because it’s about something I do. The way HBO and Netflix have the shows set up, it’s hard not to binge watch. After one is done, the next one will start in a few seconds without you having to touch anything. There have been days were I’ve sat down and watch four hours of HBO and didn’t even realize how long I’ve been watching.

  2. Mansi M Patel

    Great article Darcy. This topic is super relatable for many college kids who often use Netflix as a form of procrastination (like I’m sure many of us did for this blog post). I appreciated the anecdotal beginning which helped in relating the topic to your intended audience. I enjoyed that you had 2 different studies and incorporated the use of the file drawer problem that we discussed in class. It would be nice to delve deeper into this topic, instead of just stating the statistics, facts, and results. Interesting read!

  3. Meaghan Elizabeth Simone

    I completely agree with you when you say netflix is addicting. However, i personally don’t use it to relax or enjoy the program – I honestly use it to purposefully distract myself from my responsibilities and work, which is a big nono. The use of material we have learned in class helps bring the blog together nicely.

  4. mzm6020

    I think like most people, this is a great post because it completely relates with me. There have been countless school nights where I just cant stop watching Netflix. You make a great point about the omnipresence of light, which traps us into this belief that it is not time to stop watching netflix! Netflix has always proved to be a dangerous for me. It serves as an easy way to distract me from my homework as well. Once i finish a set of problems, I move on to watch an episode of netflix. I have almost planned my studying around my netflix and not the other way around, which is horrible. Here is a great link to netflix addiction!

  5. Taylor M Stewart

    Wow, I completely hate my Netflix account. There’s never any movies that I like when I go on there, I despise getting sent to the “Other Titles Like This” tab when searching for a movie I’ve been longing to watch. This really turned me off about Netflix. Makes me wonder why there are restrictions? Great blog though well thoroughly written, never thought of Netflix to be something one could elaborate on and relate to science, but you did a great job.

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