If you’ve ever spoken to your doctor about a less-than-healthy habit, chances are they’ve said something along the lines of, “yes, you can have that, but remember — everything in moderation.” However, the latest pop culture craze has gone against everything your doctor has told you. Binge watching is the act of watching multiple episodes of a show in quick succession. It became popular when streaming services such as Netflix started popping up. Since the average American household now owns 2.24 TVs, plus quite a few more devices such as smartphones or tablets, online streaming has become easier than ever to access.
With popular shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards Netflix rose to popularity quickly. But since they release entire seasons of shows at once, the binge watching trend has skyrocketed. It has become a race among those on social media to see who can finish a season first, and there are numerous downsides to it.
The number one problem with binge watching is that it takes away from the experience of a show. You’re no longer sharing an experience with other fans week to week. Instead, you lock yourself away from everyone and watch the entire season on your own. For show writers, it’s anticlimactic and it takes away from the experience of seeing your writing take off.
Perhaps the biggest downside to this trend are the health issues that come with it. The obvious one is that people aren’t being active. Each episode of Orange is the New Black is an hour long. Multiply that by a few shows — although people often watch even more — and you’re talking hours of time spent sitting on a couch. Binge watching has also been linked to mental health issues such as depression. No evidence confirms that it causes it, but it has been proven that those suffering from depression are more likely to binge.
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The good news is that binge watching may already be dying down. With newer streaming services such as Amazon Prime refusing to release more than one episode per show, per week, viewers are prevented from watching entire seasons at once. Even Netflix is now defying the trend it started: newer shows such as Between will only stream one episode per week.
What do you think about binge watching and online streaming in general? Are you hoping it will die down soon?