Binge Watching – Fun but Fatal (5D Wan Chiu Tung, Angel)


In recent years, owing to various restrictions and regulations, people have been spending more time at home. Staying at home for the majority of a day, for the sake of relieving boredom, people have little choice but to resort to scrolling their phones and look for interesting contents. Binge watching through platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus, therefore, has become a bandwagon, inviting netizens to get on. While some think that binge watching serves as a perfect means for people to chill out amid immense pressure, those singing a different tune believe that it poses an irreversible threat to addicts. Therefore, before a conclusion can be reached, there should be a comprehensive analysis on both the upsides and downsides of binge watching.

In the first place, the prolonged exposure to screens takes a toll on people’s physical health. The most direct influence is done on people’s vision. Based on scientific studies, a constant exposure to blue light damages the retinal cells of the eyeball, resulting in vision problems like shortsightedness, cataracts and even eye cancer. Not only does blue light wreak havoc on eyes, but it also deteriorates sleeping quality by suppressing the release of hormones that make us drowsy, forcing us to stay alert. On top of this, people usually prefer to lie on their beds or sit with an incorrect posture ‘comfortably’ for consecutive hours, which may well lead to chronic and back problems. Those who enjoy junk food such as chips and coke simultaneously will also be likely to suffer from being overweight and obese due to a lack of exercise. An experimental research conducted by the World Health Organization which contrasted the behaviour of both ordinary people and soap opera addicts has proved a higher percentage of addicts having various health diseases as a result of their sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, binge watching indeed poses adverse impacts on people’s physical health.

Apart from physical well-being, binge watching also brings harm to people’s mental health. For ordinary people, good time management is essential for a balance between work and leisure. Yet, when people spend plenty of time binge watching, they are likely to lose their sanity and cannot help keeping watching the next episode. Consequently, they will end up realizing that there is still much unfinished work, being plagued by the aggravated burden stemming from their mountainous amount of work. Feeling woefully stressed, many of them will become distraught and helpless for not being able to catch up, thus suffering from mental disorder.

On the flip side, some people are more concerned about the need to relax. They enjoy immersing themselves in the world of dramas and reality shows, enthralled by the compelling contents and temporarily escaping from their hectic lives. Through watching the prodigious number of episodes in a row, viewers forget about their worries and their stress is mitigated. As a result, binge watching becomes a platform for people to rest a while before moving on. No wonder this leisure activity could be a sort of quick fix to the endless boredom during the pandemic.

Besides, with a wide variety of television programmes, ranging from cartoons and soap operas to cookery programmes and documentaries, binge watchers are able to acquaint themselves with diverse areas of knowledge and fun facts after being soaked in those programmes for a considerable amount of time. They become exposed to ideas or events which they have not heard of before, thus acquiring extra knowledge. For instance, watching nature documentaries like “Our Vast Universe” and “Visit Earth at Night” allows one to learn about species of habitats and biodiversity, and to discover the wonders of nature. Moreover, watching soap operas could also help people gain an insight on interpersonal relationships in the workplace and families, enhancing their understanding of the real society. The act of finishing watching a multitude of episodes instead of one provides binge watchers with a more thorough and comprehensive overview of the entire theme, outstripping the effectiveness of watching a single episode. As a result, to some extent, binge watchers could constantly absorb practical knowledge from related programmes, expanding their horizons and worldviews.

Based on the discussions above and from my point of view, the drawbacks of binge watching apparently outweigh its upsides because one’s physical and mental well-being should always be regarded as the top priority compared to the desire to rest and relax. In fact, enjoying our favourite television shows is not a wrong means of entertainment as long as we refrain ourselves from being overindulgent. Moreover, not all binge watchers are capable of distinguishing the appropriate type of programme for themselves. The impressionable minds of children and teenagers will be contaminated if the choice of programmes is unwise, not to mention whether useful things can be learnt. Therefore, taking into account the devastating damage of binge watching on our health, it should not be difficult to make the right judgement. People should stop being overindulged in this deplorable habit. Stay wise.