Is There Life After Netflix?

If you’re reading this sentence, congratulations, you may be the only one. Tech website Cord Cutting did the math and Americans officially spend (on average) 1 hour and 40 minutes per day watching Netflix programming. That may not seem like much—in Netflix time, it’s barely a House of Cards and a half—but the figure becomes more significant when we compare it to the amount of time the tech site says we spend on other activities. Like reading, which Cord Cutting reports takes up an average of 19 minutes in our day. Or exercising, (17 minutes). Or hanging out with our friends, (38 minutes). These numbers, the site explains, come to us courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and paint a bleak picture of an Orange Is the New Black-obsessed U.S. population that would basically elect any presidential candidate who had “Netflix and Chill” as his or her official campaign slogan.

Here’s how Cord Cutting puts it: “Our calculations show that subscribers spend much more time binge-watching Netflix than they do hanging out with their friends!”

(Trust me, I get it. While the whole Wet Hot American Summer reboot missed the mark on the original movie’s campy humor, Making a Murderer turned me into a sleepless hermit for three days as I devoured the entire series with my eyeballs.)

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But aha, not so fast! Because it just so happens that I have ten fingers and two opposable thumbs and can type “U.S. Labor Statistics” into Google, too. Then with one little click, I can pull up the latest American Time Use Survey, conducted in 2014. Now that study, unlike whichever less recent one Cord Cutting references, revealed Americans spend 2.8 hours per day watching TV (Netflix or otherwise), 43 minutes a day with their friends and anywhere from 1.3 to 1.8 hours working out.

Much better. Not amazing (we’re definitely TV addicts) yet not as doom-and-gloom as originally suspected. Yes, it’s a lot of time in front of the small screen but at least we’re getting in over an hour of daily exercise, right?

The study even serves as proof that people still read. Well, sort of. Survey respondents age 15 to 19 only devoted 8 minutes each weekend day to reading but individuals age 75 and over clocked an impressive hour on Saturday and Sunday with book in hand.

So, moral of the Netflix story? Don’t believe everything you read. Except true or not, this blogger can’t complain … at least you’re reading.

[MELISSA MARNI is a Southern California-based writer and the founder of little word studio. You can follow her musings on Instagram here.]