Boy Watching TV

Television Binges

Television binges are gaining more and more attention. Netflix, Amazon, and other video streaming services are certainly changing the way people consume television, making binges on television more tempting than ever before. And increasingly, researchers are probing the implications of such behavior.

One such study will be presented at an upcoming meeting of the International Communication Association. Yoon Hi Sung and colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin studied 316 people between the ages of 18 and 29. They collected data on television habits, loneliness, depression, and self-regulation. They found an association between binge-watching television and feelings of loneliness, depression, and an inability to regulate one’s behavior.

In a recent analysis of on-demand digital media trends, Queens University Professor Sidneyeve Matrix concluded:

As it becomes more culturally permissible, viewers young and old are experimenting with and enjoying binge viewing, chiefly on Netflix, where marathon spectatorship is not only encouraged but is the default consumption mode.

Television time, physical inactivity, and diminished sleep time are three key risk factors for obesity that appear to move in parallel. In a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Kelly Laurson and colleagues found that high school students who did not meet recommendations for sleep, exercise, and minimal TV time were roughly four times more likely to have obesity.

Perhaps binge media disorder will soon enter our vocabulary.

Click here to read more about the study of binge-watching, mood, and self-regulation. Click here for the analysis of on-demand digital media trends. Click here for the study of obesity risk associated with television time, physical activity, and sleep time.

Boy Watching TV, photograph © Annie Fischinger / flickr

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