Netflix is now as old as the many first-year students streaming it in their dorms, and it has become a staple of the college experience for a great number of students.
The popular streaming service turned 18 years old this week, and some of this year’s freshman class are among the first to have the service available to them their entire lives.
The service was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph as a DVD mailing company and since then has added the ability to stream movies and television shows directly to devices, according to the Netflix website.
Lindsay Ingold, a third-year in pharmacy, admits that when she has free time, she’s usually watching Netflix.
“I like it, and it’s entertaining,” Ingold said. “I probably watch it two or three times per day.”
A common term that has become associated with Netflix is binge watching, where a person will watch several episodes of a TV series in a one sitting. Many students will lay in bed for hours at night and watch their favorite shows until they can’t keep their eyes open anymore.
This can be a problem for college students, especially with the work load and bad sleeping habits they already deal with.
“It’s weird that people binge watch,” Ingold said. “I think it’s unhealthy.”
Others try to balance their Netflix addiction with their school work, such as Colin Knight, a first-year in mechanical engineering, who said he tries to use the site while he’s working at night.
“It definitely makes me more distracted,” Knight said. “But I try to watch a movie I’ve seen before so it’s not as tempting.”
Streaming TV shows and movies has replaced regular TV for many students. Instead of waiting for shows to come on each week, they can watch seasons at a time whenever they want.
“We don’t even have cable,” Ingold said, referring to her off-campus house. She said she and her roommates each use Netflix for their home entertainment.
However, some students have not caught the Netflix bug.
Megan Russell, a second-year in exploration, has never had a Netflix account.
“I understand the addiction,” she said. “But I don’t need Netflix because I watch cable at home and record my favorite shows.”
Russell said she commutes from home and sees no need to pay for any other TV entertainment than cable.
Whether young adults use Netflix or not, the streaming video service has impacted entertainment consumption.