The streaming disservice

How Netflix has set us up for disappointment

haruka

I remember taking a sick day from school as a kid and learning about Spanish culture, the American justice system and Punnett squares. That’s right fellow ‘90s kids, I’m talking daytime television; an art lost on today’s youth because of the proliferation of streaming services.

In a world that’s becoming increasingly divided, streaming services tighten the insular bubble we live in and prevent us from expanding our horizons and exploring new ideas. The ability to pick and choose whatever show you want may seem like a blessing, but it doesn’t challenge us to learn something new or bring us closer to our fellow man.

Close your eyes for a second and imagine you’re in front of a television holding a remote.

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Slight Hesitation. Click. Click. Click. Pause.

The flashing lights of a game show have you transfixed on the screen.

And before this very moment did you ever think about what the exact price of a Kenmore eco-friendly washing machine is?

I didn’t think so.

These are the types of experiences that are missing from the lives of today’s children ––the chance to learn a piece of information that’s seemingly useless, but somehow still lodged into your brain 15 years later. That’s called retention, folks, and this upcoming Twitch-gameplay-watching generation doesn’t have it.

When children now have the option to watch “Stranger Things,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Ultimate Beastmaster” –– surprisingly not a sex thing –– anytime they want, of course they are going to have their eyes glued on the screen. But back in our day, thumbs got exercised and we learned how to settle. We will come back to this later.

I haven’t mentioned music streaming yet. Videos now have an accomplice in the murder of radio, and its name is Spotify.

When car rides used to be a special place where everyone had to listen to Coldplay and Sean Kingston, everyone was content and sedated. Nowadays, the pressure to perform is overwhelming for the shotgun DJ and everybody in the car becomes a critic. And to be perfectly honest, music is overrated anyway. What happened to just enjoying the silence after your dad yells at everyone to shut up after he took the wrong exit off the freeway?

The reason why I’m writing this is because we’ve seen a similar degradation of culture before. What happened when the now quaint TiVo infiltrated American living rooms everywhere? People started saving their shows for later and skipping commercials.

What happened to the commitment? The next-day discussion with your friends? It’s all

gone because everybody is on their own schedule. There’s no show that’s truly a cultural event anymore, and this really hurts when you need to make small-talk with someone, but have nothing in common.

Television used to be our religion, but now we are all reformists. Picking and choosing the parts we like, but ignoring the congregation.

Our generation defeated commercials with the use of DVR and we all rejoiced. But what we actually defeated was the soul of America. We learned the hard way that even though we can fast-forward through commercials, we unfortunately can’t fast-forward through life. I just don’t want this generation of children to be blindsided with the harsh realities of life that streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are keeping from them.

Life is not like your queue. You can’t just pick whatever you want to see. So we must teach our youth that sometimes in life you have to settle for whatever is on Spike TV, especially in this economy.

Haruka Kosugi is an assistant news editor and can be reached at Haruka.kosugi@ubspectrum.com and @KosugiSpec.