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Eyshana Arya
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Teens, Binge Watching, and On-Demand Digital Media Health Impacts

26 September 2021

The way we watch TV has changed due to the internet. Many contemporary tweens and teens live amidst an on-demand world. Our generation doesn’t know of a world where we have to wait for watching a program. We expect to find what we want when we want it. Popular new series along with a whole backlog of our favorite TV shows from several seasons are now more accessible to us than ever before.

 

Binge-viewing, or watching two or more (sometimes much, much more) episodes of a single series back to back, has become the new normal.

 

Can you really blame us though, especially when it’s so satisfying?

 

Thanks to the advent of so many online streaming platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime, we're never short to indulge in just one more episode. With a huge inventory of TV series and films, as well as a commercial-free viewing experience, it’s become easier to jump from one show to another across different platforms. This bingeing sounds fantastic, offering us immersive escapism from our current reality into another world that's different from our own.

 

The line between enjoyment and its overdose

 

Health professionals across the country are however concerned with this binge media consumption. With so much content available and so much screen time becoming the norm — replacing hours spent exercising, socializing, and sleeping — the health risks of binge-watching are becoming more apparent. Doctors caution that if technology and digital services like these are not supervised, they can become a coping method for escaping reality. According to studies, binge-watching has the same deadly effect as drug or sex addiction, and it also has a negative impact on our mental health.

 

Binge-Watchers, Beware: It’s A Real Disorder

 

If you find yourself choosing a night in with Netflix over seeing friends and family, that's when it might be a problem.

 

Be aware, you're on the verge of developing a dangerous habit.

 

Take a break, seriously!

 

That’s because binge-watching is as real as anxiety or depression. According to a growing body of studies, immersion in long, uninterrupted hours of watching episodes may seem like an exciting prospect but it is not letting your mind rest. Binge-watching has overtaken game addiction as the next dangerous condition to contend with.

 

Effects on health

 

Although research into the health effects of binge-watching is still in its infancy, a few studies have raised some concerns. Though more research on the effects of our culture's move toward multiple TV sessions is needed, experts believe the following can happen to a person's health if binge-watching behavior continues to be the norm.

 

1. Binge-watching, according to various experts, can have negative effects on your cardiovascular system, vision, socializing, and sleep patterns, all of which can lead to other chronic issues.

2. Long periods of sitting, according to various experts, can raise the risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.

3. Spending too much time in front of the television requires extended sedentary activity, which can cause deep-vein thrombosis. This is a blood clot in the leg that can be fatal if it breaks off and travels to the heart or lungs.

4. Binge-eating and binge-watching are frequently linked. It causes poor lifestyle choices such as opting for unhealthy meals, and unhealthy snacking. Obesity can be exacerbated by marathon TV viewing sessions and accompanying thoughtless munching.

5. Furthermore, studies suggest that the majority of people binge-watch alone. Studies have linked a lack of socializing to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as the possibility that having fewer major social ties increases the risk of depression and other mood disorders.

6. As per sleep neurologists, watching many Netflix shows before bedtime may cause your body clock to go for a toss. The blue light that is emitted by electronic screens can actually change your circadian cycles, in addition to delaying the release of melatonin, which keeps you awake. Moreover, watching late at night results in an overall sense of sleep deprivation and only reinforces the habit of being up when you shouldn't be.

7. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a variety of health issues, including depression, memory loss, lack of coordination, proneness to accidents, heart problems, and more.

8. Finally, there’s also reason to be concerned about digital eyestrain, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision.

 

Wrapping Up

 

There's nothing wrong with binge-watching TV every now and then. The issue arises when you don't know when to stop. The next time you hover on to click that ‘Next Episode’ button, think twice, or even three times.