There’s brand new binge-watching research out and it’s got us a little concerned. The University of Texas recently did a study called, “A Bad Habit For Your Health? An Exploration Of Psychological Factors For Binge-Watching Behavior,” and the results aren’t great for anyone who considers themselves an avid binge-watcher. This is by no means a reason to go rush out and seek medical attention or anything; it’s not that kind of study. But, maybe we should think about limiting how many back-to-back Friends episodes we look at with our eyeballs.
Here’s the gist: researchers polled 316 participants between the ages of 18-29 about their binge-watching habits. Then, they asked them how often they felt depressed and lonely. With this information, they were able to find a correlation between someone who’s depressed, and someone who tends to watch a ton of TV in one sitting.
Basically, researchers found “those who lack the ability to control themselves were more likely to binge-watch. These viewers were unable to stop clicking the next episode even when they were aware that they had other tasks to complete.”
The study isn’t saying that watching 15 Arrested Development episodes in one day will cause depression, but rather it’s harder to pull yourself out of a television binge when you are depressed. And that’s something to take really seriously.
“Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way,” said researcher Yoon Hi Sung, according to Deadline, adding that depression wasn’t the only issue linked to a high TV-intake. “Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching, and they are a cause for concern.”
So maybe there is a real scientific reason Netflix often asks us, “ARE YOU STILL WATCHING?” They’re only looking out for us.
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