The Benefits and Detriments of Binge Watching on Teenagers

With the coronavirus and school out, teenagers have had more time than ever. After completing around 1-3 hours of their daily schoolwork, they have the next 21 hours of the day left. What better way to spend your time inside than immersing yourself in new TV universes? However, as the adage goes, “everything comes with a price”. Binge-watching habits have increased more than ever within our generation, so let’s investigate the benefits and detriments of binge watching.

We’ve all gotten the “Are you still watching?” Netflix notification at some point. According to the University of Pittsburgh report called “The Netflix Effect: Teens, Binge Watching, and On-Demand Digital Media Trends”,  when Netflix released a new season of “Arrested Development” in 2013, around 10% of viewers blazed through all 15 episodes in less than 24 hours. This pattern has been seen in several Netflix shows. Pulling all-nighters to finish the recent season of “Stranger Things” in July of 2019 leads to insomnia and mood disturbance on top of teenage hormones. This affects our academic performance in school as well as any extracurriculars we take part in. Our mental health is affected, as binge-watching has been linked to depression and anxiety as well as a reduced quality of sleep. Is the cost of finishing the 30th episode of “The Office” that you’ve already seen 30 times worth a decrease in your GPA? 

With coronavirus keeping us all at home, according to Variety, Netflix’s share has increased 0.8%. As mentioned in a previous article regarding the coronavirus outbreak’s affect on the television industry, “The accessibility of streaming services, along with the fact that (besides certain Disney+ originals shows like “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series)” all episodes are released at the same time, has kept us entertained from the comfort of our beds”. Streaming services like Netflix that release episodes all at once most likely encourage binge-watching habits more than weekly episodes that Disney+ released with its original content. Furthermore, the invention of the Netflix Party Google Chrome extension has allowed us to continue binge watching “Parks and Rec” with our friends, probably fellow binge-watchers. Even though we are geographically apart, Netflix brings us together.

Similar to many things in life, in the long run, binge-watching hurts the consumer and benefits the company. Yet, as young consumers, the urge to keep up with Netflix’s that have the badge indicating they are one of the streaming service’s top 10 shows outweighs the mental and physical consequences of binge-watching.

Cover photo by Brian Colucci

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