I’m no different than anyone else, I love a good story.

But I’ve never been interested in reading for entertainment. I read all day, every day as part of my work and personal studies. When I’m looking to unwind at the end of a long day, the last thing I want to do is read.

But, tell that same story through film and I’ll be hooked.

So, when Netflix came along and offered unlimited streaming of all kinds of movie goodness for a small monthly fee, how could I say no? I signed up right away.

And this was before Netflix even started to get into original programming. They simply licensed other movies and TV shows and distributed them to the masses.

We live in what is considered to be the Golden Age of television. There have never been more high quality shows on TV. The storytelling and production value found in most shows today would have been Best Picture nominations decades ago. Companies like Netflix have played a big part in that.

And yet, I’ve slowly been weaning myself off of my favorite streaming services, culminating in the cancellation of my Netflix account a couple of months ago.

Here’s why I did it, and why I have zero regrets.

Netflix directly opposes everything I want to accomplish

netflix addiction

In the old days of television, watching a TV show was a slow burn. The studio released a new episode each week, and you had to sit down at the exact time it was broadcast to watch it.

When Netflix started creating their own TV shows, they decided to do it differently. They would release the entire season at once. The length of these seasons ranged anywhere from 8 to 20 hours of content.

And, just like that, the habit of “binge-watching” was born.

The interesting thing is, this term is largely considered humorous by pop culture.

What’s the actual definition of “binge” anyway?

“To indulge in an activity, especially eating, to excess.”

Excess. As in more than is needed, or even healthy.

The word “binge” has always been used in a negative context, and rightly so. If someone regularly binges on food or alcohol, people don’t treat it as a joke, they get that person help. It’s a sign of addiction and illness.

So why do we treat binge-watching differently? Is it any less harmful?

Watching too much TV has already been well documented to be bad for your physical AND mental health.

Yet here we are, making light of it and even encouraging it with stupid things like candles that burn different scents as you “burn” through episode after episode.

cancel my netflix account

Sounds healthy.

Netflix is addictive, plain and simple. I often found myself watching Netflix simply because it was just there. Sometimes, after watching an entire season of a show I heard good things about, I’d think to myself: “Meh, that was OK I guess”.

“OK”? I had just devoted 13 hours of my life to “OK”?

And as soon as you’re done one show, Netflix so helpfully suggests dozens of others to waste your life on.

No more. Can’t do it. Time is our most valuable resource, and I’m certainly not going to continue to waste it on “meh”.

Netflix is full of depressing filth

netflix addiction

As our world becomes ever more desensitized to violence, sex, and language, entertainment only gets more extreme. The “boundaries” continue to be pushed further.

Just take a look at the most popular shows on TV, and see if you can find a common thread.

And the shows that don’t necessarily have explicit content still manage to be about darker themes. Everyone wants to be DARK. Disturbing, shocking, grotesque, downright depressing.

People choose to believe that these types of entertainment have no negative effects on us, or our children. The evidence shows otherwise.

Browse through Netflix’s original content, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything that doesn’t have a Mature rating.

And even the PG and PG13 content often has “edgy” material.

Recently, Netflix made the decision to allow hardcore pornography on their platform. (there’s plenty of news about this out there, but I won’t link to it)

That was the final straw for me.

You are what you eat, and that includes what your mind ingests. Try removing this type of content from your life and see the difference it makes.

Removing Netflix from your life improves your conversations

netflix addiction

You don’t realize how much your conversation with others relies on general pop culture until you are no longer absorbed in said pop culture.

Put simply, we make a lot of small talk.

I’m not writing off all of pop culture, of course. I enjoy a lot of it as much as anyone else, that’s why it’s called popular culture. I’m a big sports fan, arguably the biggest category of pop culture. (sometimes to an unhealthy degree)

But, how often do we dare to have conversations outside of it?

We rely on pop culture to fuel our conversations because we know that’s the easiest way to find common ground with another person.

But how meaningful is it?

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Can you remember the last time you talked to someone about Making a Murderer? or Stranger Things? or Luke Cage? I guarantee that you did at some point, but it’s long gone from your memory. Because it’s ultimately just filler.

By removing Netflix from my life, I’ve eliminated a healthy portion of my pop culture diet. It forces me to come up with other (hopefully more meaningful) things to talk about with others.

Maybe…just…one…movie…

I’ll admit that it’s not always easy. When I hear others talking about the latest hit Netflix show, the part of me that craves beautifully made television stories starts to bubble to the surface.

But then I just find other, more up-building things to fill that time with. I have more time to write, for example. And the more I hone my craft, the more I enjoy it.

If you watch a lot of Netflix, like I did, I encourage you to try removing it from your life for just 30 days. If you don’t feel like it’s made a positive impact on your life, you can always jump back on the binge-watching bandwagon.

Because that thing clearly ain’t slowing down anytime soon.

I quit Netflix for good, and it was the best decision I've made in years.
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9 Comments

  1. Senoj

    October 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Thanks for your opinion, I am ready to quit Netflix as well, nothing good for the soul… can live without it, “and think about all the time I will free up to do more meaningful things with my family.”
    Grateful!

    Reply

  2. Deanna

    August 22, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I will continue to have Netflix. I enjoy the service and I cancelled my satellite tv service and I subscribe to hulu too. I will do what I want to do. I think its silly that you are telling other people what to do. Im not listening to you. I exercise and do other things to.

    Reply

    • Patrick Antinozzi

      August 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks for reading Deanna. Of course, everyone is free to make their own decisions! I’m merely sharing my personal experience and the benefits I’ve enjoyed because of it.

      Reply

  3. Soph

    March 22, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    I am considering quitting Netflix. I am watching all the prison reality shows and it is just a bingefest of unhealthy proportions.

    Now I seem to be happily bingeing Duolingo. So, there’s that.

    Reply

    • Patrick Antinozzi

      March 23, 2017 at 11:27 am

      Hey, there you go! Felicitaciones!

      Honestly, with each passing month I appreciate even more how I have no need for Netflix in my life. There are zero benefits to it, and there’s way more engaging forms of entertainment available to me.

      Reply

  4. Mrs.M

    December 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    This article was really a waste of time.
    If you’re not able to control yourself when it comes to a simple tv show, you’re incredibly weak and – sorry, no offense – a cry-baby.

    Reply

    • Patrick Antinozzi

      December 2, 2016 at 12:49 pm

      There were a few other points made here other than simple self-control, but thanks for reading.

      I’m not offended. Everyone loves babies.

      Reply

    • Joshawy

      December 2, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      That’s like saying if an alcoholic can’t control himself with one simple drink he’s a baby.

      Reply

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