“Netflix And Chill” sounds like a great idea to most of us after a long day as we sit down with our favorite comfort food or a cup of coffee and simply unwind. But did you know that binge watching show after show on streaming services can actually be bad for you? Let us take a deep dive into the darkness that lies beyond the pixels of your screen.
Are You Addicted To Netflix?
According to a recent 2021 study, binge viewing is “a potentially addictive behavior” similar to other behavioral addictions, like gambling that involves craving, dependency, pleasure anticipation, avoidance & loss of control. The study found that around 73% of Americans binge on shows on streaming platforms leading to sedentary lifestyles & unhealthy eating behaviors. This negatively affects their psychological, emotional, physical and social well-being. The researchers observed that binge-watchers are more prone to social isolation, anxiety and depression than the general population. “Binge-watching correlates with psychological and mental health symptoms including stress, loneliness, insomnia, depression and anxiety,” explain researchers of another recent study.
Further research shows that being addicted to streaming platforms like Netflix, Apple TV or Amazon Prime Video can not only affect your health arising from a lack of movement and exercise, but also lead to several other issues, such as –
- Reduced sleep quality and increased insomnia
- Mental health issues
- Lack of control
- Poor performance at school or work
- Less effective day-to-day functioning
- Poor social life
Another 2021 research paper found that problematic binge watching is closely associated with mental health problems and can lead to “depression, social interaction anxiety, and loneliness risks among adults.” Studies have also established a relationship between constantly watching television or online shows and anxiety-depressive syndrome as well as motivation. Researchers believe that physical health problems like obesity are also strongly connected with binge viewing. Moreover, it can also make us neglect our work and relationships even when we may realize that’s not how we should act. As it becomes an addiction, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to overcome the desire to watch more episodes constantly.
The Joy Of Binge Watching
The weekend is finally here. You breathe a sigh of relief as you can finally relax after a long, tiring week. You get into your pajamas, grab some food and turn on your TV or laptop. You scroll through Netflix and realize that the latest season of Cobra Kai is finally here. But wait. You have stuff to do this weekend. From cleaning out your room and fixing the sink to working on your personal projects and investing more time in your side hustle. You exhale deeply and tell yourself you will get to it right after finishing the first episode. You tell yourself it’s just a few minutes and you deserve to take a break. But before you know it, the weekend is over, you have binged on all episodes of Cobra Kai, your room is still a mess, the sink is still wobbly, and you did not work on your projects that could have helped you earn more money. So now you feel stressed, frustrated, anxious and even a little bit depressed as you need to get more work done the next weekend. “Netflix And Chill” is not exactly as relaxing as it is made out to be. Is it?
But the problem is not with Netflix or any other streaming service. The problem is how we use binge watching as a sugar-coated poison pill to procrastinate, be lazy and runaway from finding solutions to our problems. Probably not what you want to hear right now, but the truth is always bitter. We binge watch shows less to be entertained, and more to escape from our realities. And that is where the problem lies.