Binge watching linked to negative health effects

Shelby Ketchmark, Staff Writer

It’s a Friday night in the year 1995. A new season of “Friends” airs in an hour. My friends and I begin grabbing our snacks and everything we need for the season premiere. Compare that scenario to what it’s like today: Netflix released the second season of the Original show “You.” I lay in bed for the next few hours watching episode after episode until I have completed the whole season in one night.
Binge watching: the practice of watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession. We’ve all experienced the black hole that Netflix, Hulu and other digital streaming apps pull our brains into. Hours are wasted sitting on the couch or in bed, watching the latest season of our favorite shows. Many people enjoy having quick access to episodes, yet some fail to realize that access wasn’t always this instant.
Before Netflix became more mainstream in 2007, new episodes for a TV show were aired weekly. Waiting a week for something like a TV show allowed people to look forward to the next episode, and develops patience.
Not only has patience in people changed, the amount of time spent streaming has increased drastically. A 2015 study from ARRIS Everywhere said that streaming on mobile devices has increased 21% since the release of streaming in 2007. Just as the number of hours spent in front of a phone increased, health related problems have grown as well.
In a 2017 study conducted by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, it was found that “avid binge-watchers reported poor sleep quality, increased fatigue and more insomnia symptoms.” The percentage of American adults who suffered from insomnia in the year 2019 was between 30-35%. In 1991 it was 10% according to MedScape. These numbers are alarmingly high.
Delayed gratification, studied by Joachim de Posada and explained in his book “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet,” is the result of waiting longer for something but in the end receiving something greater. To reduce the amount of time spent streaming shows and movies and to instill more delayed gratification, there should be a time restriction available to those that know they spend too much time on their device. For example, Netflix should have a setting that allows someone to limit their time spent in the app. The same rule applies for similar applications.