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Netflix’s new feature will make binge-watching so much easier

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Hollie Richardson
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Lily Collins as Emily in Netflix’s Emily In Paris

Does Netflix’s “Are you still watching?” pop-up make you feel shamed for binging your favourite shows? Read on for some good news.

Let’s face it: the tightening lockdown restrictions mean we’re going to be staying in and watching a lot of new Netflix series over the next few months. Luckily, there are plenty of choices ahead. 

From recent hit Emily In Paris (which has been as divisive as Marmite) to nostalgic classics like Gilmore Girls and season four of The Crown, we’re confident we’ll have enough to binge on until at least Christmas.  

But we all know that with great binging sometimes comes even greater shaming. 

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Yes, most of us don’t usually make a big song and dance on social media about those Sundays spent sat on the sofa for six hours with our eyes glued to the screen. It doesn’t feel very cool admitting to a new romantic interest that we only pressed pause for toilet breaks and answering the door to the pizza guy, even though we know we all take pleasure in doing exactly the same thing.

But as we all know from the memes and our own experience, every now and again, Netflix itself feels the need to shame us for not stepping away from our devices after playing through to episode five.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in season four of The Crown
Netflix: most of us will likely binge The Crown season four this autumn.

We all know what I’m talking about here: the message that occasionally pops up to ask “Are you still watching?”. The question is a stupid one, really, because the answer is 99.9% of the time: “Yes, Netflix. Yes I am.” 

It was designed for people who have fallen asleep, but when you’re sat there desperate to find out what gruesome act happens next in Ratched, it almost feels like that little pop up’s intention is to shame.

OK, so it was designed for people who have fallen asleep. But it’s almost like its intention is to shame. The streaming platform has taken note of this, however, and it is trialling a feature that lets people “play without asking” if they want they want to turn it off halfway through watching a series.

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Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Netflix told The Verge that the function is still in testing mode and it is not yet known if it will be rolled out worldwide. 

But Metro reports that users have shared the updated options that may become available, which now ask the viewer to choose between three options: “Ask Again Later”, “Play Without Asking Again” and “I’m Done”.

People have been reacting to the trial on Twitter, and it sounds like one small change has made one big impression.

“Netflix added a (beta) ‘Play without asking again’ button before @Twitter added an edit button, and honestly that’s the order we deserve,” said one relieved user.

“Netflix added a ‘play without asking again’ button when it stops you to ask if you’re still watching. There is hope for 2020,” asserted another fan of the move.

“Shoutout to Netflix for the ‘play without asking again option,’” asserted this user, speaking on behalf of most of us.

We’re yet to see if this change will be rolled out to the UK, but it sounds like it will be very welcome if it is. In the meantime, live your truth and continue binge-watching without shame.

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Images: Netflix

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…