Side-Effects of Binge Watching
With the rapid penetration of broadband internet across major Indian cities and towns, and the entry of popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it has become very easy to find an endless supply of entertainment.
Just as we have imported the habit of watching media online, we have also imported the side-effects of such entertainment, namely the concept of binge-watching.
Simply put, binge-watching can be defined as the rapid consumption of two or more episodes of a television series in one sitting. Often, people binge-watch an average of six episodes in one session. Although marathons are fairly common on television, the popular streaming service Netflix can be credited for the modern binge-watching phenomenon.
The service produces and releases several shows (commonly called a ‘series’) with all the episodes becoming available online immediately. Thus, viewers are encouraged to watch as many episodes as possible in one session, before their real-life commitments such as work, sleep, etc. take over.
This addiction has some worrying effects on the physical and mental health of binge-watchers. Most binge-watching sessions are carried out alone, with the viewers spending long periods of time without any social contact. This leads to a further breakdown of mental strength among people who are shy, insecure or too introverted. Often, it is a trigger for people suffering from depression and severe social anxiety.
Even for people who are not very introverted, binge-watching can be quite unhealthy. It is easy to get addicted to the concept of consuming large amounts of media within a short period of time. This leaves almost no time for one to perform other useful or productive activities. Over a longer period of time, one may find it difficult to concentrate on any task that requires focus and concentration.
People in relationships who binge-watch together may find it difficult to strengthen their bonds by sharing other activities, over a period of time. The habit may become a way to avoid conflict and leave problems unresolved.
Physically too, binge-watching is unhealthy since it involves sitting in one place for a long time. This habit could gradually lead to muscle soreness, obesity and other complications.
After a long day at college or work, it may seem tempting to spend the rest of the evening on a comfortable couch and get entertained, but that is a very unhealthy decision for your body.
Like everything else in life, binge-watching is best enjoyed when done moderately. Watching two episodes of a show per day is the suggested amount of “binge,” say most experts. Spacing out your favourite shows is a great way to make them last longer, because if you watch everything in one go, you might find yourself wishing for more immediately.
In short, try and integrate television shows into your regular routine, but do not make binge-watching your entire routine. As with all things in life, too much of anything is too bad!