How To Stop Being a Television Junkie

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My parents used to call me a ‘television addict’ as a kid, and now with online streaming of Netflix and Stan I’ve discovered my heroin.

Statistically, I am not alone, we love binge watching. According to Netflix, 61% of the western world regularly watches 2-3 episodes of a show in one sitting, classified as binge watching. According to research conducted by Roy Morgan Research “35% of Australians with a household Netflix subscription spend 3 to 7 hours watching content.”

So why do we do this? And why do we love watching re-runs of ‘Friends’ and ‘Gilmore Girls’ on repeat? Well, it’s all to do with good old human psychology. We live in the age of the internet, where we communicate in an instant, and get our sense of self worth from an Instagram like.

Our life online is built on instant gratification, so why do we enjoy spending hours immersed in TV? Well it boils down to two simple reasons:

1 )  We are in the golden era of television. Television production is better than ever, and viewers have become smarter, making binge watching a more engrossing and challenging experience. We aren’t sitting around watching hours of the gardening channel, we are instead being transported into the seedy underbelly of drugs by a cancer ridden science teacher in ‘Breaking Bad’, or fighting off the zombie hoard in ‘The Walking Dead’.

According Netflix, the ability to binge watch is what users want, says Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace.”

2 ) It’s addictive. It’s hard to break out of the pattern of behaviour with good television, when you just have to know if that character is alive or dead.

There is nothing wrong in a good old binge sesh, but the question you really have to ask yourself, is why are you watching? I have found myself on the not too infrequent occasion, using Netflix as an escape mechanism, falling down the rabbit hole with that fateful phrase of just one more episode.

At times this has been me taking a well-earned break in the middle of an assignment, or watching an episode as I eat my lunch. But it can easily fall into watching 2-4 episodes at the drop of a hat, and wasting precious time… Just for the record, by no means am I over this procrastination stage of my life.

In fact, as I write this article I am intermittently watching Gilmore Girls for the second time. But, I am in favour of really monitoring how much you watch, because before you know it, your eyes have turned square and you will have missed out on the real world.

Take a break, read a book during the daytime, or listen to a podcast before you go to sleep. Plan out your week and allocate an hour or so to watch TV to unwind at the end of the day. But when that sign pops up saying keep watching –  close your laptop and go do something else instead.

 

 

 

 

 

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Maddie Lucre

CONTRIBUTOR

Maddie is in her first year of a Bachelor of Communications at UTS. She has a passion for writing, podcasts and photography. A self-confessed coffee addict Maddie loves all things to do with food, wine and the beach. In her down time you can often find her coffee in hand heading down to beach with plenty of sunscreen on.

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