How Much Netflix Is Too Much

The Asia edition of The Economist (June 30 – July 6, 2018) had the Netflix logo on the cover as it introduced “The tech giant everyone is watching.” The article discussed a group of large tech companies investors love for their “stellar growth” and “vast ambition”, and which can be arranged in the acronym FAANG: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. The article also points out that “all but one” of these companies are companies that “politicians love to hate” for the controversies ranging from “data abuse and anti-competitive behaviour to tax-avoidance and smartphone addiction”. Which company has escaped this “tech-lash”? It is Netflix. Here is why: “Compared to other FAANG companies, Netflix has steered clear of news and mostly stuck to entertainment. That has protected if from scandals over fake news, electoral manipulation, and political tribalism. And unlike those two ad-based platforms, its subscription-based business model means that firm does not rely on selling users’ data or attention to outsiders. Instead it offers customers a simple exchange: a monthly fee in return for television they want to catch. The 125 million households Netflix serves, is twice as many as it had in 2014 watch Netflix for more than two hours day on average, eating up a fifth of the world’s downstream internet bandwidth.

“Netflix is truly becoming international: it makes TV shows in 21 countries. Some suspect that Netflix harbours ambition to monopolize TV, said the Economist Article.

While we may not walk into an adult movie show in a theatre showing frontal nudity, we tend to think it is no big deal to watch the same via a smartphone using a streaming service account like Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video or AltBalaji. Porn is porn, no matter where it is showing.

What should believers keep in mind when it comes to watching shows via this medium and mediums like these (Hotstar, Prime Video, AltBalaji, etc.)?

Do not binge watch

The temptation to binge watch—keep watching show after show, season after season—via streaming devices may be strong. But we must beat that temptation. The Bible teaches, “Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days” (Eph 5:16). I am sure that there are more important things to do in life—like spending time with family, like getting to know God more by reading His Word and praying, like winning souls—than to indulge in binge watching via streaming devices!

Do not use streaming platform to watch ‘soft’ porn

Talking about a show that was being streamed via Netflix in India, India Today magazine reported the following: “It is arguably the first mainstream series—streamed or (web) telecast on TV—in India and made in India, which has scenes with full frontal nudity” (India Today, July 11, 2018). Talking about an actress who acted in the same programme on Netflix, The Week magazine reported, “(she) had shed her inhibitions in an intimate scene…her topless photos have been discussed in WhatsApp groups and even porn sites” (The Week, August 5, 2018).

While we may not walk into an adult movie show in a theatre showing frontal nudity, we tend to think it is no big deal to watch the same via a smartphone using a streaming service account like Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video or AltBalaji. Porn is porn, no matter where it is showing. And watching porn is sin, for the Bible teaches through passages like Leviticus 18—read it in the English Standard Version—that a woman’s nakedness belongs to the eyes of her husband alone and vice-versa. When Apostle Paul wrote that parts of our body that are not presentable must be treated with special modesty, while the presentable parts have no need for clothing (in I Cor 12:23–24), he was appealing to common sense to vote against watching nudity of a non-spouse. Our Scripture-directed consciences must rightly prick us when we watch non-spousal nudity via streaming platforms or anywhere, leading to our repentance.

Let us not violate Scripture when it comes getting entertained by these streaming platforms. Let not Netflix flick you off your nearness to Jesus. Let not Prime Video cause the plummeting of your purity. Let not Hotstar cause a scar in your sanctification. Let not AltBalaji rob you of your sanctity!

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