The Hidden Dangers Of Binge-Watching
The word “binge” never sounds good. From the binge drinking culture in college students to the unhealthy effects of binging on junk food, it’s usually associated with negative, unhealthy, or dangerous behavior. When it comes to things like junk food and alcohol, we know binging is bad for us.
So why are we so obsessed with binge-watching TV?
Back in the old days before streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, people had to wait to see the next episode of their favorite show. Plus, they had to suffer through seemingly endless commercials in the middle of the episode. Now, streaming services like Netflix take away that waiting anxiety. Instead of wondering about that cliffhanger all week, we can now just hit play and the next episode begins. And with dramatic and intense shows like House of Cards and Stranger Things, it would seem almost cruel if we couldn’t rush to the next episode right away! Even with funny, lighthearted shows, such as Fuller House or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it’s easy to simply consume episode after episode.
But binge-watching has its price.
The Dangers of Binge-Watching
For one, it involves sitting for long periods of time. This is unhealthy, regardless of what you are doing. Every hour that is spent sitting increase a person’s risk of developing a metabolic disorder by 3.4%. The less you exercise, the higher the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health conditions. It can also contribute to unhealthy weight gains, which puts you at risk for a variety of health concerns. Plus, munching on unhealthy snacks goes perfectly with watching TV, which can also lead to an unhealthy weight gain.
In 2011, a study of 45,000 adults showed that people who watched screens a lot had a higher likelihood of death. That’s 52% higher than those who didn’t see a ton of screen time. Even in people who exercised and ate well, the results stayed relatively similar. This didn’t just apply to TV, but also to anything on a cell phone, laptop, or tablet.
Another study suggests that binge-watching isn’t great for mental health, either. The study claims that people with depression are more likely to binge-watch. This shows a potential connection with sadness, loneliness, and isolation. However, the research stresses that the correlation does not equal causation — there is no actual evidence that excessive TV watching causes depression. Still, bingeing can lead to a loss of motivation and self-esteem, difficulty with concentrating, and social isolation, all things that are associated with depression.
Netflix and other streaming services seem to be encouraging our binge-watching habits. When one episode ends, they immediately start another. Do these companies owe us anything? Should they be warning us of the dangerous side effects and health issues? As of right now, there have been no major lawsuits accusing streaming services of causing injuries or illness.
Put Down That Remote
So consider putting down that remote, standing up for a bit, and getting some fresh air. Netflix will still be there when you get back!
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