Binge-watching is the practice of watching one TV show for an extended period of time. Fast forward to midnight and you’re halfway through the season.
Even if you know you’ll end up waking up for work or school the next day, you’ll eventually be tempted to stay for just one episode. Does this sound like you? If so, you are binge-watching.
This might seem like a harmless past time, but anything in excess brings about a host of dangers. Here are the pros and cons of binge-watching TV shows.
Feeling of productive and fulfilled
When you finish the series, you feel a sense of accomplishment. In general, it feels as though you have completed a monumental task, and are now free to move on to your next big series.
Viewers can experience the joy of being completely immersed in the virtual world of their favourite series. Binge-watching also allows people to follow complex storylines, complex relationships and multidimensional characters.
The very act of bingeing the content can help foster a sense of community around a series. Viewers can discuss and enjoy the show with everyone, from co-workers to strangers lining up at the grocery store.
It’s a fun activity that sparks a common interest and provides an easy way to spend time together. Watching with family and friends, together or separately, creates a common cultural space.
Freedom of watching
Streaming services allow audiences to enjoy amazing TV shows that they would never be able to watch on regular terrestrial TV channels.
You don’t have to wait a week for new episodes, or have to endure lengthy show hiatuses. Now streamers like Netflix have put together multiple seasons of a series, giving you complete freedom to watch several episodes or seasons over the weekend at your own pace.
One of the great things about binge-watching is that you can make the show go fast, literally, by increasing the playback speed to 1.5 times.
Getting into a really engaging series will somehow make us less concerned about things happening around us. Normally our minds would be concerned with issues faced at work or school, which can lead to the tendency to stress about them.
However a binge session can help block our minds from our problems, preventing the constant thoughts from forcing themselves into us.
Binging creates a natural sense of enjoyment and can also help viewers to relax and relieve their stress. Completing a series can even give viewers a sense of control and power, which can help if viewers don’t seem to feel it in their day-to-day life. It is truly a temporary escape from our daily drama.
Advertisements can be the biggest turn-off for viewers, as they would probably be deeply engaged by a story already, and getting distracted by an ad would be a huge buzzkill.
Having an account on streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+ Hotstar offers you exclusive access to the most popular or latest web series. These steramers also offer an advertisement-free viewing experience.
Thanks to these ad-free services, viewers will be able to watch multiple episodes of their favourite shows back-to-back without having to worry about breaks. And this is perhaps the biggest benefit of the entire streaming experience.
Mental and physical health issues
Binge-watching affects the quality of your sleep and your sleep patterns. You may keep convincing yourself that this will be the last episode you watch for the night, and then find yourself still watching hours later.
However, the lack of sleep makes you tired and restless. Making binge-watching TV shows your main priority can lead to the neglect of all others, which can create stress when it turns out that you’ve been ignoring important responsibilities.
People who focus too much on their TV series have been found to be lonelier and more prone to depression than people who don’t, as it takes up too much of their time, and with little interest to hang around with friends or do other activities.
Their sedentary lifestyle also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and blood clots.
This might come as no surprise, but binge-watching can lead to addiction. For example, even if you only plan to watch up to Episode 3, you may end up watching the entire series. It’s an addiction because it involves doing or investing more than you intended.
At the same time, our behaviour also becomes addictive when it starts to negatively affect various aspects of your life, for example when you neglect other activities or responsibilities to go on a show.
Binge-watching also means missing out on the pleasure of waiting for the next episode. In the days before binge-watching was possible, people would rewatch the last episode or build up the anticipation for the rest of the week thinking about what was going to happen in the next episode.
With binge-watching, you tend to move too quickly between episodes. The ups and downs don’t hit as hard, because you don’t waste time pondering about what took place, as you launch yourself straight into the next episode.
Cliffhangers are meaningless, taking something away from narrative building. There is less emotion invested in the show. There is no week or season break that allows you to process the emotions of the touching episode you just watched. This can make the show less interesting.
Binge-watching is an antisocial activity by nature. You can do this with someone else, but you will have to agree to a schedule, which brings its own set of issues. Sometimes the schedule just doesn’t work out between friends or family, and you might have to reschedule the plan all over again. And if you are an impatient person, it’s better to just do it alone to avoid all the extra hassle.
If you’re passionate about the show, you might prefer to just stay back and focus on completing the show rather than attending social gatherings. Many people give up their plans in order to relax and finish watching their popular sitcoms.
Also, few people have a chance to talk to their friends about new episodes every week. In the past, when weekly episodes came out, there was enough time to analyse each episode with friends or colleagues. All these combined episode makes binge-watching a much less social activity. Of course, people should enjoy being alone, but they should also not take a completely anti-social stance.
Loss of time
The biggest disadvantage of binge-watching is the loss of time that occurs due to the binge watching of web series. Bingeing takes a long time for most people. This makes it difficult for you to make up for lost time and may lead to the kind of problems that may ascend.
People tend to not realise the time that they are losing everyday ignoring other chores which eventually would give you a hard time in the future.