Binge-watching keeps me on the edge of my seat. I can’t help but watch yet another episode of my favorite series. And I am sure you all can totally vouch for this. We all have faced the state when “one more episode” turned into the final episode. If binge-watching paid us for every time we binge-watch, we would have been millionaires by now. Sadly, it doesn’t. Moreover, since we have to stay at home, one of the things we do to fight boredom aside from scrolling through our social media feeds is binge-watching. It may not be a new concept but it is surely becoming the new normal.
Here is your answer to why we binge-watch?
Binge-watching can simply be defined as watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in a row. It is a relatively new behavior pattern whose popularity has been increasing since 2013. The word “binge-watch” became so popular that it even won “the word of the year 2015”. Credits to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, for making it a cultural phenomenon.
According to a study, in the United States in 2020 revealed that 60 percent of respondents aged between 13 and 17 years old frequently binge-watched TV shows or films in a series in one sitting, and 69 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 years said the same. See this vast number, you must be wondering why we actually binge-watch.
Entertainment has always been our way to escape the daily grind of our lives. It is not only a known fact but the proven one, Cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken, sees a correlation between the spike in binge-viewing and our desire to escape our daily boring monotonous schedule. He says “TV viewers are no longer zoning out as a way to forget about their day, they are tuning in, on their own schedule, to a different world. Getting immersed in multiple episodes or even multiple seasons of a show over a few weeks is a new kind of escapism that is especially welcomed today.”
Likewise, the other reason is dopamine release. Dr. Renee Carr, Psy. D, a clinical psychologist, puts his notion in dopamine release and binge-watch. Our bodies naturally become addicted to anything that consistently produces dopamine. We immediately seek another episode because dopamine gives reward pleasure for continuing the engagement in that activity. Interestingly it’s not the show we are craving. However, it is the feeling of pleasure we get from watching each episode.
We feel sad whenever we finish a series or a book. Such sink to tv shows and books transports us away from who we are. We love the feeling of living the fictional character’s life. Hence Arjan Chatterjee, Professor of Neurology at Penn Medicine, says that we forget about ourselves while we binge-watch and that encourages our activity.
Binge-watching for sure is a fun activity and now we know why. However, be careful on the line between enjoyment and unhealthy habits. Binge-watch at your own risk!