Opinion: Binge-watching is a direct source of cultural dissonance

Haley Schmidt, Opinion Columnist

Prominent streaming services are creating a decline of productivity and growth in our society. Not only does each streaming app promote binge-watching, but it makes being introverted and inactive more acceptable.

Binge-watching has become a mainstream term that means a person will sit and watch a rapid succession of content. What started as a simple form of relaxation has taken a dangerous turn to obsession.

Recent studies show that ages 18-34 defined binge-watching TV as consuming five hours of content in a single sitting. Five hours would be a realistic understatement considering the fact that students thrive off of sitting around and doing absolutely nothing of value.

The act of binge-watching is so acceptable in today’s society that an overwhelming 73% of Americans report they binge-watched videos, either on TV or another device.The acceptance of such an unproductive hobby is making people, especially the younger generations, far less active and engaged.

Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ were created with specific algorithms designed to entice viewers to stay engaged for as long as possible. The algorithms include features that allow viewers to skip intros or instantly plays the next episode unless manually told otherwise. These systems are used to offer ease in viewing content with little to no interruptions. The less people are reminded that the outside world still exists the more likely they will sit and consume.

The reason this is so problematic is that it never exposes users to anything outside what these streaming applications offer. People technically never even have to watch anything new and could forever watch the same popular shows on a continuous loop.

Doing this has proven to create a feeling of stability and comfort for people who want to only be exposed to what they know. However, they fail to recognize they are crippling themselves from any type of growth. Not just physical growth from finding other active hobbies, but mental growth from a lack of new content being brought in to their system.

College students are directly related to this binge-watching phenomenon as they sit within the primary age group affected. They can stop this trend and gain far more valuable habits to dedicate their time and energy toward.

Additionally, more than 60% of students do not get enough physical activity as it is. A fact that is exacerbated by the large percentage of students also spending the time available not sitting in a class, binging streaming sites daily. It is imperative to stop the binge culture and start getting more active.

Students need to engage in productive activities again and make a real attempt to grow as people in ways that bring out individuality, rather than cohesive interests and ideals.

– Haley Schmidt is a English senior

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