Is Binge-Watching Harmful?

With so many streaming services available to everyone and offering all kinds of entertainment, binge-watching has become addictive for a lot of people.

What is Binge-Watching?

Have you ever found yourself watching a show and suddenly you’re on the seventh episode of the night having watched non-stop? That’s what we call binge-watching. Sometimes once you’re settled in comfortably and watching something either entertaining and captivating or just trashy reality TV, you can’t stop yourself from watching another episode. And then you watch another, and another, and another, until a message pops up on the screen asking: “Are you still watching?” and an option to click yes or no. It’s important to know that this is not necessarily an issue unless you are doing it on a consistent basis. Once it’s the fourth night in a row you’re staying up until past midnight, or you look back on your day and all you did was binge watch yet again, then there may be some things you have to be aware of. Namely, this is a bit of a health-related issue both physically and mentally.

It is very easy to get caught up in binge-watching. Especially with so many available options and a huge library of movies and shows at your disposal any time you want. Pretty much any type of show or movie you’re thinking of or feeling like watching, there is some sort of streaming service that offers it. That’s not to say that binging TV for hours is strictly a new thing, but it is a lot more common nowadays simply due to accessibility.

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Said Marroun/shutterstock.com

Health Risks

The risks involved with binge-watching as far as health is concerned are usually not immediately felt. However, with constant binging over time you will feel some consequences. Simply by looking at it as something that has you sitting or lying down for hours on end, then logically it’s not good for your physical health. Taking a walk at the park or going for a run could be the best antidote to this. That’s to say that in between watching your fourth and fifth episode of the evening, you might want to get up and move a little.

Moreover, your sleep schedule suffers a lot from binge-watching as well. Not only because you can stay up late hours watching TV, but also because spending all day in front of a screen can’t be good for your sleep. Also, if you’ve been binge-watching a lot and you’re feeling tired all the time, these two things may be connected. Again, physical activity is essential in protecting your health, but also in helping improve your mental health. Your posture is another thing that should concern you if you’re a regular participant in binge-watching.

Spending a lot of time isolated and alone can’t be good for your social life either. These are all interconnected because typically friends and going out help your mental health, moving around helps keep you healthy, and binging TV goes against all these good things you could be doing to help yourself. Binge watching also could potentially lead to you becoming more susceptible to different addictions. Most people aren’t eating or snacking on anything healthy when watching TV, so that is yet another issue to be dealt with in the (probably quite near) future.

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SeventyFour/shutterstock.com

Positive (and Other) Effects of Binge-Watching

This may have all sounded gloomy so far, but there are in fact some positives to binge-watching. First of all, there is a reason why it’s such a popular thing to do. Life’s really hard for a lot of people, and having the opportunity to be entertained for hours without having to worry about other real-world problems sounds like a great deal. Not to say that you should shut down or avoid the outside world, but it’s understandable why a lot of people choose to take enjoyment wherever they can. Plus, you can direct all your anxieties and stress towards something that has no effect on you personally. Being concerned about whatever is happening on the screen is a good distraction and a good enough place to direct your stress.

With the increased popularity of Netflix which releases its shows usually all-at-once, for most people in order to avoid spoilers online they need to binge-watch the entire season right there and then. This can be a good thing because you potentially enjoy the show more and then you can also share your opinions and thoughts online with other people. While online discourse is usually an unhealthy way to spend your time, as long as you’re being careful with how you’re engaging in conversation, you can have fun talking about your favorite characters with complete strangers.

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Stokkete/shutterstock.com

There are pros and cons to almost everything in life. It’s probably best to be aware of them though, and when it comes to binge-watching it is good to know that it’s not necessarily a black and white issue. As with a lot of things in life, just make sure it doesn’t get out of hand, take days off, go outside, take a walk, hang out with friends in person, and make sure to check up on your mental health. Because after all, binge-watching is also a sign that your mental health could be decreasing over time.

Basically, binge responsibly.

 


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