It's sweeping across the nation, making thousands of high schoolers addicted to its powerful clutches. It worms its way into your already busy schedule, eating up the time that could be used to finish chemistry labs or to study for an AP exam. One word, hundreds of TV shows, hours of happiness — you guessed it: Netflix. Parents love to discuss in detail about how Netflix shows distract students from academics or how too much television can rot your brain. When actually, it's the opposite. Certain shows on Netflix can raise your awareness of issues you've never known or cared about... till now.
1. "Thirteen Reasons Why" raises awareness of social issues like depression and suicide.
Remember that show that everyone was obsessed with in July, called "Thirteen Reasons Why?" You have probably heard of Hannah Baker, a new high school student who suffered from bullying, verbal abuse, physical abuse and other complications that ultimately ended with her suicide, which she committed after sending tapes to all the people who contributed to her self-destructive decision.
I mean, it’s one thing to discuss such serious topics during health class where half the students will be on their phones, but it’s another thing when you are indirectly teaching high schoolers about the consequences of mental and social issues by integrating them into dramatic television shows. Students are more likely to retain the information when it comes from fictional characters in an intriguing plot line versus a monotone health teacher reading from a textbook.
2. Netflix cop shows like "Law and Order" teach us to follow the rules.
"Law and Order" is basically cops and the lawyers teaming up to bust the bad guys, but it also teaches high schoolers the honor code in a meaningful way: no matter what bad thing you do, you always have a high risk of getting caught.
Whether it’s a psychotic criminal holding a gun in every person’s face or a kid who cheats on his math test, the protagonist in the show always catches the evildoer before he/she can get away. This show is also important in that it teaches teenagers right from wrong by repetition. Don’t use guns, people can die. Don’t rob banks, you’ll be thrown in jail. Don’t hack top secret software, the government will find out who you are. It reiterates one specific point: one mistake can change your life.
3. "Parks and Recreation" teaches teenagers important moral values.
Let’s bring back a classic: "Parks and Recreations." Leslie Knope, am I right? She is a confident, headstrong, positive woman that fights for what she believes in, even when everyone around her tells her it might be impossible. Perseverance and confidence are important qualities for every person to have, but surprisingly, you do not see enough of it in high school. Most people are too concerned about peer pressure to actually give significance to their own opinions, but why do you want to fit in if you were meant to stand out? If there is one thing that Leslie has taught her apathetic colleagues, it’s to embrace change, and to work hard to make that change happen, because things have a way of working out. Even if things do not go according to plan, you will be happy that you tried your best.
4. "Arrow" inspires you to persevere.
In "Arrow," rich playboy Oliver Queen gets shipwrecked on an island for years, where he is subjected to torture, forced to murder, and inclined to betray those closest to him to survive. When he comes back home he attempts to get rid of all the corrupt politicians in his city by being a nighttime vigilante. Oliver gets shot like 50 times per season, but somehow manages to live and still persevere in his goal to save his city and even succeeds to become mayor! Arrow sends a message to all its audience — endurance is sheer willpower and is the strongest quality anyone can possess.
5. "Grey's Anatomy" helps teenagers decide upon a career choice.
Yes, I’m talking to you, "Grey’s Anatomy" and "White Collar" people. Whether it be late night on-calls, spending hours in the OR, going undercover in a drug dealing gang or working as a detective, Grey's and White Collar both portray the pros and cons of their individual careers through numerous seasons. As with every occupation, there are downsides: patients can tragically pass away and some villains magically escape. With a million different twisted plots over countless episodes, one can truly see how rewarding and frustrating a career choice can be. After all, who doesn’t want to be the next Cristina Yang or be as intelligent (and gorgeous) as Neal Caffrey?
Netflix shows have a bigger impact on our lives than any of us imagined. The next time your parents criticize you for wasting your time on all that “unnecessary drama,” let them know that you are learning valuable life lessons from this simple streaming service.