The Dark Truths of Binge-watching

In recent years, high schoolers and college students have been plagued by binge-watching. Many are unaware of the dangers binge-watching beholds. Read below to hear the deep, dark truths from opinions editor Kaitlin Baldwin. Staff photo by Eliza Crowder.

By Kaitlin Baldwin

Last summer, I binge-watched the television series Prison Break. Due to its hot main character Michael Scofield and suspenseful plot line, binge-watching was the most logical thing to do. How could I put down the remote after Scofield found a new escape route or after Mahone almost caught one of the Fox River Eight? Within a short time, I had finished all four seasons of the series. I had transformed from a person who barely watched television to an avid binge-watcher. Yet, am I proud of this? Absolutely not.

Binge-watching made me tired. After watching multiple episodes, my eyes stung, my lower back was stiff and my body was sluggish. It was like I had just done some sort of strenuous exercise, yet I hadn’t — I had been immobile the entire time. My low-energy state made anything that required energy — driving, feeding the dogs, organizing my room — seem daunting. Usually, I was able to overcome this energy barrier and do whatever needed to be done, but sometimes, the energy lag made me gravitate right back towards my spot on the couch. Binge-watching also gave me bad headaches. On the bad days, my brain felt bruised and mushy. How can that be healthy?

Binge-watching was also a horrible waste of my time. Usually, I’m very productive; I never procrastinate and I always get my work turned on time. However, binge-watching made my priority list go haywire. In the span of two and a half months, I had watched all 81 episodes of Prison Break. If each episode is 42 minutes long, that means I watched a total of 3,402 minutes of television. This is not something to be proud of. I could’ve used that time to go to the beach, hang out with friends or work on college applications. Time is a precious thing, especially during the summer. I am sad that I did not use the time to do something more meaningful. Yes, Netflix, with its 12 second countdown to the next episode, suckered me into watching numerous episodes in a row. But, at the end of the day, I am the one to blame. I consciously entered the binge-watching club.

With a plethora of digital streaming sites at our fingertips, it’s easy to binge-watch. Netflix, SideReel, MegaVideo — they are our gateway to binge-watching. However, the next time you consider starting a new series and finishing it by the following week, think twice. If binge-watching makes you tired and induces symptoms similar to concussions, then binge-watching can’t be good for your health. Yes, I am slightly a hypochondriac and think that everything leads to cancer, but when something doesn’t make me feel too good, I know it’s not the best thing for my body. Use the time you would spend binge-watching towards something more important. Next time, don’t stick around for that next episode. Don’t let Netflix decide for you. Take control. Wake up and smell the roses.

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