It’s been a long week and now it is Friday night. You don’t currently have plans so you make the determination that it will be another night in. What do you choose to keep you company? Do you call your friends and see what they are up to? Nah, don’t want to bother them; besides most of them are on a date anyway, right? No, what sounds better is a night alone with your good buddy, Netflix. After all, “Friends” can be found there right now, anyway. Don’t worry; I am not here to judge. I’ve been there myself far more often than I like to admit.
The other day, though, my roommate made a point that I have been pondering over and over again since. She said, Netflix is changing human interaction. Now, when human beings experience loneliness, they no longer look for interaction with people; they satisfy that need with entertainment and technology. The more I pondered the thought, the more I realized the true nature of it, because I see that it is something I have done.
Now, please don’t miss understand; Netflix can be a great tool and a wonderful resource. However, it should not become an outlet that prevents interacting with other people. As single adults, we should have slightly more urgency on the matter of dating and marriage. Let’s be honest; we aren’t very likely to find a spouse stationed in front of a computer screen in our bedroom at home, or even in our living room with the lights off and the door locked. It is more likely that as we meet other people and engage in fun activities, service, and other things that we will meet potential dates there.
David A. Bednar said, “Sadly, some young men and young women in the Church today ignore ‘things as they really are’ and neglect eternal relationships for digital distractions, diversions and detours that have no lasting value.” It is my opinion that on those lonely nights when we turn to the digital distraction of Netflix we might be investing our time in something that is of no lasting value. It might provide temporary relief from those feelings of aloneness, but ultimately it may be preventing lasting and eternal relationships.
As we focus on our current and future relationships, we can also apply the counsel of Scott D. Whiting, who said, “While modern technological advancements can enhance the work of the Lord and bless us and our families, we must be careful not to fall victim to their destructive side.” It may seem insignificant in the eternal scheme of things if we spend a night or nights binge-watching Netflix, but maybe, just maybe, that’s where the devil wins. He persuades us not to worry about the consequences of such a small thing. If he can’t get us to commit big sins that lead us away from family relationships maybe he just puts us out of the path of potential mates instead. After all, if you never meet people, how are you going to marry them?
Since happening upon this new insight, I have made it my goal to have at least one form of social interaction with people one-on-one each day besides the routine of work. This goal helps me to remember my responsibility in getting out, meeting people, and detaching myself from a false sense of having people in my life. I invite you to take the challenge with me. Evaluate your use of binge television watching (if you do it) and see one thing you can do to improve. I also ask for your suggestions, what activities would you recommend replacing the habit with?
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.