How Bad is Binge Watching TV?

Is it ok to watch a whole season of Breaking Bad in a day? Asking for a friend

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In life, we’re told too much of anything is bad for us (think binge-drinking, binge-eating). But what about binge watching TV?

Studies conducted by Netflix, show that most people binge watch TV with 61% of people confirming they do. And subscribers who finish the first season of a show, generally do so within a week.

We’ve all binged at some point. Huddled in bed with the flu, and before you know it you’ve blazed through a whole season of Breaking Bad in a weekend.

Streaming services like Netflix and Stan mean that there’s a massive selection of television shows to watch, with an auto play setting that begins an episode before the credits are even finished. It’s easy to get sucked into the worm-hole of a good series.

But experts say it may be doing a lot of damage. Here are the main issues associated with TV bingeing.

Linked to Depression

Health experts say binge watching TV has been linked to problems like depression. A 2015 study by Texas A&M revealed that binge-watching is tied to feelings of loneliness and depression. It also encourages anti-social behaviour as it is a pretty isolating activity. According to a study by Marketcast, an entertainment research firm, which found that 56 percent of bingers prefer to watch alone; 98 percent watch at home.

You could become addicted

The same Texas A&M study also found there was a high likelihood of audiences becoming addicted. People who binge-watch TV didn’t have the self-regulatory behaviour to stop. Viewers were unable to stop clicking next even when they were aware they had other tasks to complete.

The behaviour becomes addictive when it begins to negatively affect other aspects of your life. So watch out for neglecting other activities or responsibilities.

Increases your risk of health issues

Adults who watched more than three hours of TV a day doubled their risk of premature death compared to those who watched less, found researchers as reported in a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Sitting for long stretches of time increases your risk of health issues (including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer), even if you also exercise regularly.

Look, I know there’s no way we’ll ever stop binge-watching TV (especially with that sneaky auto-play service and people constantly posting spoilers on the internet) But health experts advise if you must binge, make it healthier by standing, stretching, and taking mini breaks for physical activity.