Here’s how to make your binge-watching beneficial
By Mackenzie Gellner, Contributor
Binge-watchers are a common persona nowadays, we all know them. And let’s be real, we all are them.
The term binge-watching refers to watching multiple episodes of a show or several movies in one sitting. It’s difficult to find someone who is not guilty of continuously hitting the “next episode” button on Netflix, especially when it is so accessible with smartphones, laptops and televisions.
However, what are peoples’ reasonings behind binge-watching?
A Netflix survey revealed that 76 per cent of streamers stated watching several episodes in one sitting relieves them from their busy realities and even makes the show more enjoyable.
This statistic, combined with a national poll by the American Psychiatric Association, makes the concept of binge-watching even more justifiable. The poll explains how from 2017 to 2018, there was an increase in anxiety between five categories of health, safety, finances, relationships and politics for United States residents. This has given people more drive to take a break and watch some shows.
It is important to note that with many people cutting the cord nowadays, relevant news stories are not always heard on a national or global scale. Ultimately, this is where deciding what you will binge-watch can be the difference in building or demolishing that barrier.
Streaming has inevitably affected the way people spend their time on their screens, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be utilized valuably. On popular streaming sites, there is an endless list of lighthearted shows and movies you can dig your teeth into. However, amongst these titles are numerous documentaries that tell refreshing tales of personal pursuit and strength in the face of adversity.
On the top of my list is Kiki Goshay’s documentary, Not Alone. To try and gain a better understanding about her own best friend’s suicide, a young girl, Jacqueline Monetta, interviews teens who did, and still do, struggle with mental illness and suicide attempts. Throughout the documentary, teens share their stories about dealing with mental health at a young age and create a strong sense of human connection.
Another documentary available on Netflix is He Named Me Malala, which tells the incredible story of Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. The film focuses on Yousafzai’s survival when shot by a Taliban gunman in the midst of the opposition to girls’ education in the Swat Valley in Pakistan.
Prior to the murder attempt, Yousafzai was making many efforts to support girls’ education, even being nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Due to her activism, she was hunted down when on a bus heading to school. This, however, only inspired and drove Yousafzai to fight harder for girls education rights.
Another title on my list is a miniseries recently released on Netflix, called When They See Us. This series tells the important, heart-wrenching true story of the Central Park Five. The epsiodes delve into the injustice that occurred to a group of young boys who were wrongfully accused for assualt and rape in Central Park in 1989. Convicted with maximum sentences, the boys were not freed until 2002 when the true offender confessed and DNA evidence was found.
Watching true stories, such as When They See Us, brings awareness to the mistakes made in the past and encourages the public not to repeat them in the future. It gives us a chance to view another person’s life and understand the importance of staying aware of political, economical, and societal actions.
Yes, everyone loves binge-watching a good, lovable show that leaves the heart full. I, for one, can’t count the number of times I have rewatched Friends because it always gives me a sense of comfort and warmth. I believe our love for binge-watching has placed a negative effect on the way we spend our time and is even impacting our health and relationships.
If binge-watching is going to affects us in this way, I believe there should be some benefits to gain from this activity. This can be done through filling your screen time with elements of real-life perspectives and events.
Binge-watching is a concept that will be around as long as streaming sites are. My point is not to make you stop watching those classic “feel-good” shows, but if you’re going to spend a good chunk of time cuddling with your laptop, dedicate some of your time to watching some meaningful content.