It’s late Friday night, and senior Jenny Kerbs is getting ready to watch the next episode of “Breaking Bad” on Netflix.
As the smell of popcorn fills the air, Kerbs goes to check the status of the account.
All clear. Only one person is using it.
But after she grabs the popcorn and clicks on the episode “Hermanos,” an alert pops up on her screen: “Your Netflix account is in use on another device. Please stop playing on other devices to continue.”
“Dang it, Sydney!”
Senior Sydney Michel, whose family owns the Netflix account, has forgotten that Kerbs had asked if she could use the Michels’ account that night to watch “Breaking Bad.” Since Michel and her mother are both watching movies, Kerbs can’t watch because only two people can access an account at one time.
And because Kerbs’s family thought that having both cable and Netflix would be too distracting for her, she now has to call Michel to ask her to stop watching “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
The originally 44-minute session has turned into a three-hour ordeal.
Although this instance may seem extreme, it is far from unusual. And it shows the lengths that Country Day’s students are willing to go to in order to stream the increasingly popular Netflix.
In a Sept. 4 Octagon poll, 107 of 122 high-school students said they have a Netflix account or have regularly used a friend’s.
Country Day is not alone in its craze for Netflix. Fifty-one percent of millennials (those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) were using Netflix as of March 2015, according to the article “By the Numbers: 50 Amazing Netflix Statistics and Facts” from digital marketing website DMR.
Senior Emma Brown, who said she watches four or more hours of Netflix a week, thinks that the millennial generation is especially obsessed with Netflix because of its low cost ($7.99 per month for the unlimited streaming package and $9.99 for the unlimited streaming and DVD package) and its wide range of content.
“I also think that it’s because we are so lazy,” Brown said.
“It’s a lot easier for us to simply click a mouse than to go to a store to rent a $7 movie.”
Because of its availability, Netflix is especially popular for its binge potential (watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession). According to the DMR article, 61 percent of Netflix users were binge-watching shows at least every few weeks in December 2013.
Seniors Jacob Sands and Brown are both self-proclaimed binge watchers.
Brown has recently binge-watched “Arrested Development,” “Sherlock,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Chuck,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “90210.”
Sands has watched “Narcos,” “Daredevil,” “Friends,” “Scrubs,” “That ’70s Show,” “Breaking Bad,” “Adventure Time,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.”
According to Brown, despite skipping the opening and closing credits, it still took her around 44 hours to binge-watch the entire “Breaking Bad” series.
“It’s really easy to binge during the summer because you can spend hours and hours watching shows on your com- puter without any distractions,” Brown said.
In another poll distributed Sept. 15, 71 high-school students out of 93 said that they have binge-watched shows.
Even though there is more time to stream during the summer, students say that they don’t let schoolwork lessen their determination to finish shows and movies.
In fact, in the Sept. 5 poll, 26 students said that they watch one to two hours of Netflix a week, 23 watch three to five hours a week and 27 watch more than five hours.
“It’s so addicting,” freshman Bella Mathisen said.
“You start watching a show, and it’s almost impossible to stop because you want to see what happens in the end.”
With 60 million subscribers as of April (according to the DMR article) Netflix’s popularity in the high school isn’t surprising. However, it wasn’t really big until a few years ago, according to Michel.
“I have been using Netflix regularly since freshman year, but most people in (the senior class) didn’t really get into Netflix until my sophomore and junior years,” she said.
Michel believes that Netflix really became popular then because students started looking for stress-relieving activities.
“When there is so much going on in your life, you want to think about the lives of the characters from your shows instead of your own,” she said.
Senior Elie Kuppermann agrees.
“It’s another form of relaxation that can take the place of hanging out with friends,” she said.
Although it can be relaxing, some seniors think that Netflix has also made the millennial generation antisocial.
For instance, senior Jag Lally once told seniors Serajh Esmail and Brad Petchauer that he couldn’t hang out with them over the weekend because he had too much homework, when he really just wanted to watch Netflix.
“I know that that makes me antisocial, but I really wanted to watch ‘Baby Daddy,’” Lally said with a laugh. “When people are bored, they can always turn to Netflix,” Kuppermann added. “If it wasn’t there, they would turn to their friends instead.”
Michel and Brown, on the other hand, believe that Netflix can be used to socialize. “You can always watch Netflix with your friends if you have nothing else to do, and you can have Netflix parties,” Michel said.
Also, because Netflix is so popular, Brown said that it can be a conversation starter.
“Almost everyone can relate to the things on Netflix,” Brown said.
Since Netflix’s popularity is growing every year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicted that broadcast TV won’t last past 2030, an article in Business Insider.
Senior Max Schmitz agrees.
“Why would I waste time trying to figure what’s on TV when I can go on Netflix and find exactly what I’m looking for right when I want it?” he said.
And in the Sept. 15 poll, 50 students out of 93 agreed that TV is dying out because of Netflix.
Netflix is also taking over the vernacular of the millennials.
Phrases including “You should Netflix it,” “Boyfriend? That’s a funny way to say Netflix” and“Netflix and chill” are often used among the senior class, according to Michel.
Although Kerbs is one of those who use these phrases, she said she’s stopped watching Netflix for her senior year.
However, last week she did break down and watched “Chef” – but this time on the Browns’ account, which is more available than the Michels’.
—By Madison Judd