There has been a noticeable change in the way people take in media over the past decade. The proliferation of online video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu has completely altered the television and film viewing experience. Binge-watching and other forms of series addiction have emerged as a result of this limitless availability. However, what exactly is series addiction, and how does it affect our culture and our psyches?
This is the time of binge viewing.
Binge watching is a new phenomenon that emerged with the rise of streaming services. The term “binge watching” describes the practice of watching multiple episodes of a TV show in one sitting. In the past, waiting a week or more to watch the next episode of a favorite show added to the thrill. Seasons are no longer a tease because they are all available at once. This allows viewers to immerse themselves in compelling plots and character arcs without interruption, which can lead to compulsive viewing.
The Science of Binge-Watching
Addiction to television series is characterized by excessive viewing of the shows at the expense of other interests and obligations. Excessive screen time has negative effects on our physical and mental health, but this is not yet recognized as a formal diagnosis in psychological literature.
There are many causes of series obsession. To begin, algorithm-based recommendations and auto-play features inherent to streaming services promote binge-like viewing sessions. The importance of the social aspect cannot be understated, either. Binge-watching can also be motivated by social pressures like FOMO (the fear of missing out) and the desire to appear hip and trendy in conversation.
Consequences of Serial-Watching Obsessions
The effects of a series addiction are as varied as those of any other addiction. Screen time can lead to inactivity, which in turn can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and sleep problems. Poor sleep quality has been linked to the blue light emitted from screens, which can disrupt our natural circadian rhythms.
Binge watching has been shown to have negative effects on mental health. Post-series depression is the term used to describe the feelings of emptiness or depression experienced by some viewers following the conclusion of a television series. As people may choose to spend their time alone watching shows rather than interacting with others, this trend can contribute to social isolation.
Vicarious traumatization is another issue for viewers who regularly take in graphic or emotionally taxing media. Some studies have found that prolonged exposure to such material can trigger PTSD-like symptoms.
The Middle Ground
Despite the fact that binge-watching television shows is a growing problem in the modern digital age, it’s important to keep in mind that watching TV shows and movies in moderation is still compatible with a healthy lifestyle. By making a wide variety of films and TV shows available, streaming services help people learn about and appreciate other cultures. During times of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these mediums were crucial in keeping people entertained and sane.
Consumption awareness is the key. Limiting screen time, taking breaks frequently, and including a wide variety of activities in daily routines can all help prevent casual viewing from becoming compulsive. In addition, watching the series in installments rather than all at once can increase the fun of anticipation and lengthen the pleasure it provides.
Knowing about potential pitfalls like series addiction is essential as we move through the ever-changing digital landscape. As consumers, it is our responsibility to find a happy medium between the conveniences of on-demand media and the maintenance of our physical and mental health. It’s all about making the most of how streaming services have changed the entertainment industry.