In recent years it’s become the norm to binge-watch television because you’re A) addicted to them and/or B) looking to catch up.
But does binge watching also suggest something worse?
Researchers at Austin’s University of Texas surveyed 316 18 to 29 year olds on how often they watch television, how often they binge-watch television, and their “feelings of loneliness, depression and self-regulation deficiency.”
The study found that “the more lonely and depressed the study participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch TV, using this activity to move away from negative feelings.”
Interestingly, the study also discovered that “those who lacked the ability to control themselves were more likely to binge-watch” because they “were unable to stop clicking ‘Next’ even when they were aware that they had other tasks to complete.”
Damn that handy Netflix feature!
Said Yoon Hi Sung, one of the study’s researchers, “Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way.
“Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching and they are a cause for concern. When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others. Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously. Our research is a step toward exploring binge-watching as an important media and social phenomenon.”
Those who read this study will quickly take offense to these accusations, because no one likes to admit that they’re lonely or depressed. One of the other issues is that this study appears to paint a large brush over all binge watchers and sounds the alarm on what this method of television viewing could mean.
While this study could certainly be true to an extent, it’s important for the researchers to remember that sometimes we just want to curl up with the television and be lazy.
Perhaps we should always binge watch television with friends or loved ones so that we don’t have to worry about these findings being true.