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Binge Watching: The Devil Made Me Do It

By Drpamelarutledge @pamelarutledge
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Binge watching shutterstockWe’re always so quick to blame technology. It reminds me of the very funny Flip Wilson comedy routines from the 1970s “The devil made me do it.” If we blame technology, it’s not our fault. So, the devil is back and it’s called “binge watching.” This is where understanding a little about research is helpful.

There are both positives and negatives about binge watching reported in this article in the Toronto Sun by Joanne Richard (Netflix binge watching sounds bad but feels good ) .  However, under the “bad” section on the negatives of catching up on multiple episodes of your favorite TV show is a reference to research that where results say binge-watching is “related to” obesity and depression.”  Let’s clarify just what that means.  Related” is a correlation – that’s a relationship not a cause. In other words, it’s equally likely that someone who is depressed and obese will choose to watch several consecutive hours of TV as it is the other way around. Nevertheless, it is true that too much inactivity of any kind is related to weight gain.  Too much time avoiding social contact (in the event that you are holed up all alone without social contact) can also be an indicator of depression.  You could be sitting there knitting or staring at the carpet as well as watching

Nevertheless, it is true that too much inactivity of any kind is related to weight gain.  Too much time avoiding social contact (in the event that you are holed up all alone without social contact) can also be an indicator of depression.  You could be sitting there knitting or staring at the carpet as well as watching House of Cards.  On the other hand, you could have a house full of people all gathered to watch several episodes together.  Think of it as a Bowl Day.  We don’t pathologize football the way we do Netflix.  Nor do we shame people who stay up too late finishing a mystery book.

We act like activity with technology doesn’t involve choice. As appealing as it is to not take responsibility, it’s not the devil.  It’s your remote or off button. Everything is a trade-off–one that’s yours to make.


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