Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
You sit yourself down in front of the TV after a long day at work and choose to start out watching that new show everyone’s been talking about. With the development of digital technology, this has become easier nowadays.
Fast forward to midnight and you’ve completed half a season – and end up tempted to stay up for only one more episode, even if you know you will be paying for it at work the next morning. Does this sound like you? If yes, then you are binge-watching.
Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is a practice of watching television for a long time span, usually a single television show.
In a survey conducted by Netflix in February 2014, 73% of people define binge-watching as “watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV-show in one sitting.” Researchers have argued that binge-watching should be defined based on the context and the actual content of the TV show.
The History of Binge-Watching
Binge-watching is surely one of the most remarkable cultural phenomena of the last few years. The term binge-watching has become popular with the rise of online media services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video through which the viewer can watch television shows.
The word ‘binge’ first appeared in English in the mid-1800s which means ‘to soak’. Around the time of World War I, the term ‘binge’ was referred to eating and drinking excessively.
The use of the word binge-watching can be traced back to 2003, but it didn’t come into common usage until around 2012. The phrase gained popularity in 2013 when Netflix released the full 13 episode season of ‘House Of Cards’ at once. In 2015, “binge-watch” was declared the Word Of The Year by Collins English Dictionary, which said the use of the term had increased 200% in the prior year.
Pros and Cons of Binge-Watching
A 25-year-old American recently set the Guinness World Record for most hours spent binge-watching television. He managed to make it to 94 hours before sleep dedication inescapably caught up with him. That’s crazy right! Is binge-watching a harmless pleasure or a harmful addiction? Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of binge-watching.
Pros of Binge-Watching
1. Increases Social Connections
Binge-watching creates a sense of community around a show. It is called “a shared cultured area” by experts. This mutual ground permits viewers to debate and revel in the show with everybody from a coworker to the stranger in line at the grocery store. People who feel lonely and isolated find it easy and relatable in this shared area. They also find space to share personal views.
2. Strengthens Relationships or Friendships
Romantic relationships or friendships also can be strong by binge-watching along as a result that it creates a shared interest, could be a fun activity, are often a conversation starter and is an easy way to share time together.
Binge-watching also can be a kind of two people’s therapy for troubles like illness or troublesome family relationships. For example, if couples see fictional couples having similar issues, they will be able to better perceive and alter the problems in the real world.
3. Can Reduce Stress
According to psychiatrists, binge-watching releases dopamine within the brain, which creates a sense of enjoyment and might facilitate folks to relax and relieve stress. Finishing a series will give viewers a feeling of control and power, which might be helpful if viewers don’t seem to be feeling that in their daily lives.
4. Makes Show More Fulfilling
While binge-watching, the viewer can feel the joy of full immersion (otherwise known as “the zone” ) which is an incredible feeling like remaining up the entire night to complete a book or assignments/projects.
5. Makes One Attentive
Shows created for binge-watching are usually additionally sophisticated with different perplexing storylines, complex connections, and multi-dimensional characters. According to journalist and media theorist Steven Johnson, watching this kind of show makes viewers smarter as a result of bigger attention and thinking are expected to process them.
6. Saves Money
Taking a family of four (two adults, two kids) to a cinema hall costs $60 in tickets. Add costs of foods or snacks and you’re looking at least $80 for 2 hours of recreation. A Netflix subscription costs $8.99 per month, there are 48 million users who are taking advantage of hours of recreation for about ten percent of the value of one dinner and cinema.
Cons of Binge-Watching
1. Increase Risk of Health Issues
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, adults who watched over three hours of television daily multiplied their danger of premature death compared with the individuals who watched less.
Sitting for extended lengths of time increases your danger of medical problems ( including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer ), regardless of whether you exercise or not. So if you binge, it’s very important to stand, stretch and take mini breaks for physical activity!
2. Get Addicted
While binge-watching can be fun and feel fulfilling, there’s consistently the peril of becoming too obsessed. For example, even if you plan to watch only 3 episodes, you sometimes end up watching the whole series.
This is an addiction as it involves doing the activity more than you had planned. Behavior also becomes addictive when it starts to negatively influence different parts of your life, like if you neglect other activities or responsibilities to binge Stranger Things.
3. Become Anti Social
According to the 2013 report from the Market cast, an entertainment research firm indicated binge-watching is an anti-social activity since 56 percent of bingers prefer to watch alone while 98 percent watch at home.
Many people cancel plans to sit back and complete a season of popular sitcoms. People surely should take pleasure in solitude, however, they should also not adopt a completely antisocial attitude.
4. Sleep Deprivation
Results show that more than 80% of young adults identify themselves as binge-watchers, with 20.2 percent of them binge-watching at least a few times a week in the previous month.
Those who identified as a binge-watcher reported more fatigue, most symptoms of insomnia, poorer sleep quality and greater alertness prior to going to sleep. Further analysis found that binge-watchers had 98% higher likelihood of having poor sleep quality compared with those who did not consider themselves to be a binge-watcher.
Binge-watching has its own benefits and drawbacks. If we do it on balance, binge-watching can be worth doing from time to time.
We can use it to support our health, we don’t have to give up that great escape into characters and shows we love but if you find that you are never leaving your house, you should consider canceling your Netflix subscription to remedy that problem.