Pin It

Binge-watching TV linked to depression and loneliness

Science says it's time to stop pressing ‘next’ on Netflix and get outta the house

Do you find yourself wondering about how acceptable it is to stay on your sofa and watch your seventh consecutive Netflix episode of House of Cards, despite having needed the toilet for about two and a half episodes? Surprise surprise, you might be depressed, lonely and sad. Actual scientists at an actual university said so.

Researchers at the University of Texas analysed the behaviour of 319 people aged between 18 and 29 and found that the more lonely and depressed the subjects were, the more likely they were to engage in bingeing the fuck out on television episode after episode of whatever they can get their sad eyes on. 

"Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way," lead researcher Yoon Hi Sung said. "Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching and they are a cause for concern. When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others. Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously."

I remember watching eight episodes of The Wire in one day and feeling really great. But am I just a fat screenbinger lying to himself? What if my only other task was finding out what's about to happen Stringer Bell, the 21st century Iago, as he descends from the summit of the Barksdale drug empire to certain death in what is undoubtedly one of the finest TV programmes ever to grace this Earth? Sounds better than putting the washing on.

Sung also argues that people "use TV to move away from negative feelings". Listen mate, I just paid a builder £20 to affix my widescreen onto the wall of my flat and I fucking love it, OK?

There you have it: it's January, you've got no money, it's freezing outside and these guys want to tell you that watching loads of TV makes you depressed. We should have kept this one to ourselves.