Netflix has been a major part of the life of my family since we cut the cord on cable a few years back. Their instant streaming service has been great. It allows us to binge watch TV shows that we would normally not watch but are interested in now because we don’t have much else to watch.
While Netflix is great, I have discovered that the DVD rental/streaming service is slowly starting to ruin my child. Instead of dealing with the hand that is dealt he now thinks that he can get what he wants when he wants it all because of the convenience of Netflix.
Watches What He Wants When He Wants
I realize what it sounds like when I say this. It sounds like we let the Kid watch TV when he wants. That is far from the case. We only let him have a limited amount of TV (or what we call screen) time. We want him to understand that there is more to life than the latest episode of SuperWhy! or finding out how Wordgirl saves the world.
While the shows that we let the Kid watch on Netflix are usually educational shows, mostly from PBS (I am big on PBS if you haven’t already figured that one out) Netflix is teaching him he can get what he wants when he wants it. Instead, we give him the selected TV shows that he is able to watch, which aren’t very many, and he decides. Ultimately, this leaves control back on us.
Select Only Certain Episodes
This piggy backs off of him having the choice of show that he wants. Lately, the Kid has discovered the episodes that he enjoys of those shows that he watches. He really likes the Wammer on Wordgirl and he really likes the adoption episode on Dinosaur Train (not sure why that particular episode, maybe he is trying to tell us something). Since Netflix allows us to choose episodes, the Kid has quickly learned this, he knows how to control the remote and knows just by the thumbnail which episode is which.
There really is no remedy for this. This is where the flaw in our solution for only allowing him to watch certain episodes is really brought to light. Since he has learned how to use the remote we now don’t give him the opportunity most of the time to control which episode he gets to watch. We just select whichever one is next in line and don’t give him the option.
This is the big one. Now, on our ROKU box, Netflix is auto-advancing to the next episode. Nine times out of ten Mrs. Rookie Dad and I are off doing something else while the Kid is watching TV. We are only half paying attention, which is great parenting and I can hear half of you complaining that we do this. I’m sure there are times that you all have done it too. We will eventually lose track of time, come back about 30 minutes later to find the latest adventure of Wordgirl just starting. The moment we reach for the remote to turn it off, a full meltdown ensues. Those meltdowns brought to you by Netflix.
My solution to this (which really isn’t a solution but more of a request), ask Netflix to make the Auto-Advance feature an option to turn on or off. I don’t think that is too difficult to ask right? This would give me the opportunity to go around the house and do the chores that I need to do while the Kid is occupied and not have to worry about him sitting in front of the TV or an hour. I know this makes me sound like I need the Kid to be doing something while I am working on chores but with modern parenting, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get things done, even if you don’t like it.
So as you can tell Netflix is slowly ruining my child!
Really what this boils down to is that I want to teach my child that the world today will not cater to his every need and want. Netflix has become something that is doing that for him. While today’s world is becoming “on-demand” so to speak, I still want the Kid to grow up not expecting anything from anyone and to make his own in this world.