By Josh Ballard:
Between television shows, podcasts, vlogs and movies, there’s a lot of video content people can watch. That entertainment blessing can also be a curse when binge-watching becomes addictive.
“Before I know it, I’ve spent most of my day watching ‘Game of Thrones,’ and I have two hours to finish an essay,” Triston Weaver, a general studies major, said.
Binge-watching has become more common and, for some people, it borders on addiction. “I binge-watch probably once a week during the school year, but a lot more during the summer,” Weaver said, noting he binge-watched two seasons of “Breaking Bad” in one session. That means he spent about 20 hours straight watching his television screen.
In a survey conducted by Netflix, binge-watching is classified as watching two to six episodes of the same television show in one sitting. Some people watch much more in one sitting. Kyler Lonzo, a business management major, watched 20 episodes of “One Piece” at once.
Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez, a psychology professor, said binge-watching is only an issue if it interferes with everyday living activities, such as eating, sleeping or working.
People binge-watch because they want instant gratification and they want to know what will happen next. “The next episode is right at their fingertips,” Rodriguez said.
Binge-watching can be just as bad as other addictions, according to Rodriguez. “All addictions are pretty much the same. It is not really an issue and no one really says anything until it starts to interfere with the person’s life.”
Binge-watching is much more common thanks to video on demand companies such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. A Netflix survey revealed that 61 percent of customers regularly binge watch. Netflix currently has more than 109 million subscribers per month, meaning around 66.5 million people on Netflix binge-watch.
There are multiple negative side effects to binge-watching, including increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to the American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association also found that being addicted to binge-watching can have some of the same side effects as being addicted to alcohol or drugs.
“I’ve felt great while watching a show but I’m left feeling drained after watching it for hours on end,” Lonzo said.
Weaver said he is taking steps to control his potentially dangerous habit. “I’ve started setting a limit to how much I watch each day,” he said. “It helps me focus on the important things I need to get done.”
To get help controlling binge-watching habits, visit the AC Counseling Center on the second floor of the Student Services Center or contact them at 806-371-5900.