Can You Survive The Stress Of An Online Black-Out?

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Written By Gholam Rahmani

Wi-fi, smartphones and broadband are great – until the service goes down.

In today’s ultra-connected world where people check their messages every few minutes, losing service can be a nightmare of stress and uncertainty.

In the past few days, apart from the usual telco provider hiccups, users worldwide have lost their WhatsApp and Netflix apps for up to hours at a time.

But if you were a user who didn’t miss the service during the black-out, do you really need to subscribe to paid-for apps like Netflix.

Subscriptions are meant to make your life easier, but if you delete the app without doing anything about the subscription payment, you could find yourself seriously out of pocket.

The price you pay is more than money

Netflix costs an average $10.99 a month.

That’s fine if you regularly binge-watch boxsets and the latest movies, but if you immerse yourself in Stranger Things, Mindhunter and Sens8 and nothing else, your bill will stack up to $132 a year for little in return.

Netflix is not the only subscription villain.

With a smartphone you do not use much you can opt for pay-as-you-go, but streaming services are pay us anyway and watch if you want.

Sport apps are a good example. Most fans do not watch every team in every sport, only a select couple of teams and one or two sports.

But the app churns out sport 24/7 along with invoicing your bank for the charge if you watch or not.

Gimmicks that lead to stress

The experts say subscription services are marketing gimmicks – you need to analyse what you get, whether you want it and how much you are prepared to pay before hitting the accept button.

Dr Kathleen Hall, CEO of the Stress Institute says subscriptions can trigger five stresses – control, time, confusion/lack of clarity, financial stress, and frustration/anxiety.

“Managing your subscriptions each month, verifying that the price is the same, that there is no increase or difference, and keeping track of the expiration date if you want to stop the subscription, all take time, which is not a factor many consider when they sign up for a subscription,” she said.

“If you do decide to stop, this can be a nightmare that creates anxiety and anger from frustration or stress from trying to contact the company by exchanging emails or waiting on hold for several phone calls.”