Why Do We Keep Pressing Play?

Binge-Watching Netflix-Is It Healthy?

Trevor McEntaffer, Contributor

If you have Netflix then, you’ve most likely run into the problem that many people, including myself, have run into. That problem is, the addiction to throw every important aspect of life aside and binge Netflix. It is almost impossible to explain the feeling of wanting to watch the next episode, but having to go to sleep because your alarm will go off in 30 minutes. Some people say it’s the way they leave cliffhangers. Some say it’s how the application itself is arranged. Don’t worry, it’s not only you, it’s millions of people around the world that cannot click off of the site.

What actually makes binge watching so addictive? Binge watching scientists say as you watch your brain produces high amounts of dopamine. So, every time you press play and find out who the killer is, or when a stressful plot is resolved, dopamine is shot through the brain. This dopamine can cause the symptom called “Binge Watching”. Binge Watching is when you get so addicted to a series or show, you finish it in an almost unhealthy amount of time. Let’s take one of Netflix’s top series, Stranger Things. Netflix revealed its own data about the series, showing “40.7 million global household accounts had watched the show during the weekend.” It was reported that 824,000 U.S (NCBS) people had completed the entire first season within the first 24 hours of its release! Wow!

Why is Netflix binge-watching so addictive? What makes it so enslaving? Well a Sahuaro sophomore, Lyndale Bondoc, says, “I think Netflix shows are so entertaining and addicting because each episode ends with a cliffhanger that makes you want to keep watching. I think what causes it, is when you get anxious about what is going to happen next, and needing to know what happens to relieve the anxiousness.” Another Cougar at Sahuaro Felicity Sepulveda, Junior, said, “I think it’s so addictive because it automatically plays the next episode of whatever you’re watching, so I just stay up for hours just to find out what happens at the end of the show.” The use of auto play and cliffhangers are two marketing tactics Netflix uses to keep you pulled in and on the edge of your seat the whole time.

Are there any dangers? So you finish your 8 hour prolonged Netflix session, and you’re sad that you’ve finally finished that show you’ve been watching. You wonder, was that 8 hour session of Netflix unhealthy? The sad answer to that question is… Yes. Psychology Today says, “excessive and prolonged TV watching is also linked to childhood and adult obesity, increased risk for type 2 diabetes, and depression.” So after that killer ending to the series of your favorite show, make sure to not get too sad that it’s over, and go for a walk!