Binge-watching: More Than Just Entertainment

We all love being cuddled up under a blanket, eating popcorn, and watching movies and TV shows. But is it doing more harm than good? In the technological era we live in today, we can stream from pretty much any device. With the increased accessibility, people are watching movies more than ever. People from ages 14 to 33 claim to be binge-watchers. Viewers are watching their television for hours and hours upon end. Binge-watching has become quite a popular relaxation technique. Sparking concern with scientists, studies have been conducted on the effects. There is sufficient evidence supporting the harmful effects of extended viewing and the effects it has on our bodies.

Despite the facts, there are still many people who oppose the data; therefore, binge-watching has become a very controversial topic. Challengers of the data state that binge-watching can be beneficial to the viewer. They believe that binge-watching can “foster relationships” with those who enjoy the same series or movie, creating a common ground and foundation for friendships to be established. Binge-watching is also stated to provide an exuberant experience for the viewer. The body produces a chemical, Dopamine, as a form of pleasure when intrigued in an enjoyable activity “creating a drug-like high” promoting stress relief. Also, binge-watching can form positive role models and increase the self-esteem of watchers. Binge-watching is an enjoyable experience for most of America but our health is more important than a few minutes of pleasure. The research thus far has been very informative. The effects of binge-watching can be very detrimental to people’s health. Extended viewing can do more harm than good.

The whole body is affected by the negative effects. The physical effects are tremendous. Your spine is affected due to the constant slouching permanently contorting the natural shape of your spine. The spinal cord develops a C-Shaped curve. Not only is your spine affected the lungs areas well. The studies show that the lungs decrease in size by a third of their natural capacity. The decreased oxygen leads to a lack of mental focus. Organs as important and as vital as the heart are negatively affected. The “sedentary lifestyle” can lead to blood clots that can potentially travel to the lungs and can result something as severe as a heart attack. An article provides evidence from the Journal of the American Heart Association, which published a report that found that those who watched more than four hours of TV each day had a 50 percent greater risk of premature death from heart disease than those who spent less than half that time in front of a television screen. The author, Cohen, also provides data from an Australian study of national health records which states that each hour we binge-watch after the age of 25 our life span decreases by 22 minutes.

Not only are people affected physically, the extended viewing takes a toll on our mental health as well. The average binge-watching lasts up to four hours. The emissions of the blue light hours before you fall asleep causes a restless night of sleep (Cohen). Since the fluorescent lighting prohibits melatonin, the body’s natural sleep aid, production in the body, you “will be groggy the next day regardless of the hours of sleep” (Cohen). You will not undergo the essential REM sleep cycle and truly get a deep rest. The brain is ultimately affected by the lack of sleep. Studies show that insomnia is a symptom of binge-watching. Our mental health is just as crucial as our physical health.

Lastly, among our other negative effects of binge-watching, our social skills are affected as well. The extreme cases of extended viewing are exceedingly over the recommended number for the activity. Binge-watching can cause the viewer to be in isolation obtaining only that relationship with the screen rather than with real-life people. Some viewers become so consumed in the fantasy of the movie they rely purely on that for a social connection. Human interactions are very normal and are completely necessary. Without social interactions, people become depressed when a series ends due to their reliance on the almost friendship like connection that has developed. The watcher is so engulfed by the satisfaction of a fictional character that when it comes to real-life interactions, anxiety and stress debilitates their ability to conduct a conversation.

In conclusion, the topic has many different opposing sides creating a very controversial topic. The negative effects of binge-watching greatly outweigh the benefits. The world loves to relax but we need to be more concerned about our health. Binge-watching is a common relaxation technique with unknown dangers. Very few people know about how hazardous it can be to your health. As a result, it has become a silent killer. 

Works Cited

  • Cohen, Arianne. 'The Real Effects Of Binge-Watching TV . .' Details, Mar. 2015, p. 146. Gale General OneFile,
  • Gardner, Eriq. 'Studies: Netflix Can Be Bad for Your Health and for the Planet?!' Hollywood Reporter, 7 Aug. 2019, p. 62+. Gale In Context: High School,
  • 'BINGE-WATCHING CAUSES BLOOD CLOTS?!' Women's Health, Dec. 2016, p. 034. Gale General OneFile, Accessed 29 Oct. 2019.
  • Page, Danielle. “What Happens to Your Brain When You Binge-Watch a TV Series.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 16 Feb. 2018,
  • Deloitte. 'Share of Consumers Who Ever Binge View Television Shows in The United States as of November 2016, by Age.' Statista, Statista Inc., 22 Mar 2017,
  • Birch, Jenna. “How Binge-Watching Is Hazardous to Your Health.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 June 2019,   
16 December 2021
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