Is Netflix a hobby?  Personally, I do not think so.  A few days ago a fellow Archway writer and I were discussing what we like to do in our free time.  Clearly, we both enjoy writing since we are part of the Archway, we both share an interest in travel, and he loves working on and driving cars. We also agreed that more and more it is difficult to find people who share our interests.  We came to the consensus that screen time is not a hobby. We realized we do not know many college students with a real hobby; not a passion or an interest, but a real pastime hobby.

The millennial generation is often referred to as “digital natives”.  It is true, we grew up in a world where technology was rapidly improving around us, and a lot of us spent our time getting acquainted with it.  Some experts even go as far as saying we are digitally dependent, claiming we are addicted to the technology we use.  Do these claims have any basis? According to a 2016 CNN article citing a Common Sense Media study teens spend an average of nine hours a day using media.  This includes consuming video media like YouTube or Netflix, playing video games, listening to music, and checking social media platforms.  Put in perspective that is more time than most people sleep a night.  With all that screen time and time consuming media, what time is left for hobbies?

Thinking about watching Netflix, or playing FIFA, what about the countless hours spent doing them disqualifies them as hobbies?  To me, a hobby is something a person can get better at over time, something that is more than just an interest, it is an activity that is done in free time to enrich someone as a person.  It is my opinion that one cannot get better at watching TV over time.  Activates such as media use and consumption are simply entertainment or a pastime, but not a true interest.  Some things that make for good hobbies include playing musical instruments, traveling, reading, writing, art, gardening, cooking, crafting like knitting or sewing, hiking or being outdoors, skiing or snowboarding, dancing, working out, and playing sports.

On the other hand, an article published by the Atlantic in 2014 claims that, “Millennials are out-reading older generations.”  According to Atlantic a study done by the Pew Research Center claims that about “88 percent of Americans younger than 30 said they have read a book in the past year compared with the 79 percent of those older than 30.”  I don’t know if a single book counts as a hobby.  In her media literacy class Bryant’s own, Professor Susan Baran, teaches about the term alliterate.  Alliteracy is when people have the ability to read, but make the conscious choice not to.  Reading is usually an activity some, but my no means all, students only do when required of them for class assignments.  So while more millennials may be reading than generations before them, it may not be enough to be considered a hobby.

An average working age person spends about eight hours at work a day, and eight hours sleeping, but that still leaves eight hours of free time left.  How that time is spent is spent depends on so many factors.  However, if it is possible to invest that time in an awesome new hobby then go out and try fun, cool, new, things.  What are your hobbies?

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Laura Hayes
A New York native, Laura Hayes is a senior graduating from Bryant University in just three years with her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a double minor in Management and Women's Studies.

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