Entertainment exists to help us escape from the humdrum and hectic routines of our normal lives. To immerse oneself in a magical world of dragons, or embark on a visual culinary adventure, can be therapeutic. However, anything in excess can be harmful.
That’s part of the reason why the SHUT Clinic exists in Bangalore’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). Considered one of India’s foremost psychiatric assistance facilities. SHUT, or ‘Service for Healthy Use of Technology’, was set up in 2015 to tackle increasing technology addiction among young people and children. Now, reports indicate the clinic has its first Netflix addict.
According to The Hindu, SHUT has admitted a 26-year-old unemployed man. He reportedly turned to Netflix’s easy access entertainment after losing his job and “shut out reality for more than six months”.
Dr. Manoj Kumar Sharma, a clinical psychology professor at NIMHANS and head of the clinic, says the patient began binge-watching movies and shows on the streaming platform for more than seven hours on a daily basis.
“Whenever his family pressured him to earn a living, or when he saw his friends doing well, he would watch the shows on offer continuously,” Dr. Sharma told The Hindu. “It was a method of escapism. He could forget about his problems, and he derived immense pleasure from it.”
The World Health Organization recently classified obsessive video-gaming as an addiction. Not to sound like a compulsive gambler, but you bet it will not be long until “gaming disorder” is joined in the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases by another modern, screen-based malady: “Netflix disorder”. A Blogger once wrote about his experience in 2015. He said,
“Out of the blue, while watching my favourite Nora Ephron masterpiece, the screen went dark. The dreaded red wheel of doom spun a circle in the middle of my computer. I checked the wifi signal and the Internet modem—I called my mother for help. The Internet connection was fine and there was no visible sign that anything was wrong with my computer. Unless there were little green aliens on the roof intercepting my satellite signal, that was fine too. My mind raced. How could the Netflix gods do this to me? Have I really been streaming for the last five hours? I need to take a shower.”
Netflix is the world’s top video streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from a smartphones to a smart television. It works with a variety of other devices like PlayStation and Apple TV, letting users stream directly onto larger screen. Netflix is also the creator of a lot of original, made for the web content, much of which is now in high-resolution Ultra HD.
Netflix has reportedly allocated up to Rs. 600 crore ($88 million) per year for original content in India. Earlier this year, it released its first made-in-India original movie, Love Per Square Foot. India, with the world’s second-largest internet user base, is critical for video streaming platforms like Netflix.