Netflix, an on-demand internet streaming service, was first digitally launched in 1999; throughout the years, it has become the premiere way to stream television shows, documentaries, movies, and other media. With over 60 million subscribers as of April 2015, Netflix is extremely popular– particularly with the teenage demographic. It seems that many teens choose to binge-watch a show on Netflix rather than do their their homework or study for a test, and I’ve definitely been guilty of this on numerous occasions. However, is it worth it to cancel that subscription in order to gain a few more studying hours, or can Netflix actually be… a good thing?
Between vampire dramas like The Vampire Diaries, and silly comedies such as Bob’s Burgers lies an onslaught of very educational shows and even movies — not in the sense that they teach you things such as calculus and chemistry, but in other ways. Shows such as TED Talks, National Geographic, and Cosmos are all quite educational and informative on various topics. Netflix also boasts a huge selection of documentaries which teens can take full advantage of. Documentaries on the harmful effects of the food industry, the technology that’s changed the course of our history, animal behavior, World War I, World War II, the history of cinema, the Vietnam War, and hundreds of others. Not only are these documentaries interesting, but with Netflix, they have been made very accessible to teens.
The educational content that Netflix contains doesn’t stop at documentaries — there are many TV shows that are based upon historical and scientific happenings and are very accurate. Some examples of these types of TV shows are Reign, a show based off of Mary, Queen of Scots, The Bible, a recreation of the stories of the Bible, The Tudors, a series that follows the royal curt of 16th century England, Life, a show exploring the variety of animals and plants that inhabit our Earth, and plenty more.
Netflix also has a huge selection of classic movies that have been integral parts of our cinematic culture. Such movies include Annie Hall, Pulp Fiction, Fantasia, Heathers, Silence of the Lambs, Man With a Movie Camera, Fargo, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and tons more. They have an entire section devoted to classics, which every high schooler should see to learn about the evolution of film and develop an appreciation for classic films that have shaped our culture.
Of course, it is quite easy to consume all of your time binge-watching a show on Netflix, but the movies and TV shows offered on Netflix can actually help to round out the knowledge you learn in school. If you’re learning about World War II in history class and want to know a little more, there are so many TV series and documentaries on the subject. Additionally, there are so many documentaries and shows on nature, life, animals, outer space, the brain, physics, and Earth to supplement the science you are learning in school. Netflix can be a really cool tool in enriching your knowledge if you explore the various categories offered on the site.
While it’s never wise to choose mindless TV time over homework and studying, there is nothing wrong with watching TV every now and then to relax from a stressful day. Even better, watching something that can help you learn something new is always a cool option made possible by Netflix. However, if you constantly find that Netflix is interfering with your studies, and consequently, grades, then it may be smart to make the decision and take a break from it. If you learn to balance your leisure time with your work time, then Netflix can be great, and even useful. Without that balance, Netflix can be the perfect way to fall into a pit of procrastination. Choose wisely, kids.
(Check out Sophie Stadler’s “The Tumblr Epidemic“.)