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Bingeing: when private behaviours go public

Netflix has heralded us into the age of “screen snooping”.

Have you ever sat on the bus, peered over the shoulder of the person in front of you and unashamedly tuned in to the show they’re intently watching? Before you know it, you almost miss your bus stop and you realise you’ve been joining in on a stranger’s entertainment for far too long.

According to Netflix, we’re becoming serial offenders of this – so much so that we’ve been given a title: Screen Snoopers. More and more, Netflix users are risking public embarrassment and judgement to watch their binge-worthy shows while they are travelling or commuting just to ensure they’ll be entertained during their dreary daily commute.

On top of this, it seems that public social norms are drastically changing and so are our needs: Netflix can reveal that we’re beginning to value our entertainment sources even more than food and water.

Netflix claims 67 percent are willing to expose their entertainment-induced emotions in public and this number will only grow with the burgeoning global access to smartphones. This year, an astounding 2.4 billion people have used a smartphone – that’s 30 percent of the world’s population.

It may seem that our screens are drawing us into an antisocial world that destroys the possibility of chance encounters and face-to-face communication. However, Netflix’s 2017 statistics fly in the face of that idea so famously published in Sherry Turkle’s Together Alone and so many other anarchist media scholars.

We’re a generation of unapologetically public bingers (Illustration: Netflix)

Screen envy is bringing strangers together

27 percent of us have been interrupted by strangers, with many of them curious to know what show we’re watching. Although these intrusions are unwelcome, Netflix assures us that these intruders are just jealous of our access to entertainment.

We’re all watching each other

Almost half of public bingers have caught someone snooping on their screen, and only 18 percent of us have felt embarrassed watching shows in public. Most of us are unashamed of our viewing habits, with 77 percent of us refusing to turn off their streamed show.

We’re spoiling shows for screen snoopers

Apparently, 11 percent of second-hand viewers are having their shows spoiled as they peer over our shoulders – (surely it’s not our fault)!

We’re letting our emotions run free

Even in public, one in five people are letting tears roll while the majority of bingers are giggling at their screens on the way to work (we promise we aren’t crazy).

Netflix has heralded us into an age where emotional and psychological preoccupation is becoming necessary, and when those strangers on the bus are lacking access to quality entertainment, we shouldn’t feel irritated when they begin peering over our shoulder. The bingeing culture instigated by Netflix is bringing audiences together in public and these new statistics are signalling public reunification in the age of smartphones and social media.

You can find more information on Netflix’s findings here.

(Featured Image: Netflix/Quartz)

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