Binge-watching or binge watching in children: what can be done?

Who hasn’t succumbed to watching an entire season of their favorite series in a couple of days? Children, young people and adults fall into the temptation of spend hours and hours in front of the screen devouring audiovisual content. But we are not always aware of the negative repercussions that this habit is known as binge-watching.

This term, which has become popular in recent years, is made up of the word bingemeaning ‘binge’, e Watching, which refers to the action of watching series, videos or consuming audiovisual content. In this way, it would come to designate the increasingly common practice in the population of binge-watching series.

While this trend affects all age groups, the little ones are especially vulnerable. Because of their cognitive and emotional immaturity, they are more likely to be hooked in this addiction to television.

But even in their developing organism the consequences can be much more harmful. So how can we prevent this from happening? We explore it below.

What is binge-watching and why does it happen?

As we mentioned, the binge-watching It consists of bingeing on audiovisual content, indiscriminately consuming large quantities of it in a short amount of time. This practice has spread since the arrival and popularization of platforms stream.

This is not due to chance. Platforms implement well-studied mechanisms that help generate this false need in the viewer:

  • The contents of the block are released. This allows us to have an entire season (or even an entire series) in one day, instead of having to wait an entire week for a new episode to premiere.
  • Chapter chaining. When one runs out, the next one starts automatically in seconds. We don’t have to decide if we want to keep watching, and we don’t even have the time to do so.
  • Ability to skip introduction and end credits. With these options, our need for immediacy is reinforced. The human brain doesn’t tolerate waiting well, and that way, we can get rid of it.
  • Many of the titles aimed at children include game and interactive elements. These manage to capture and keep the attention of children for longer periods.

All of the above has a direct impact on the brain.: takes us to act on impulse. Watching series activates the brain’s reward system, which generates pleasant and pleasant sensations and motivates us to keep doing the same activity.

Girl watching television.
Children suffer more severely from the effects of spending long hours in front of a screen.

Main consequences of binge-watching or binge watching in children

Even if we think the binge-watching It’s more typical of adults, even children (if they don’t have supervision) suffer from it and the big platforms know it. In fact, according to the a relationship by Nielsen, in the year 2020, 36% of the most watched programs on the air stream They were aimed at an audience of children and preteens.

THE impact for minors they can be serious. The main ones include the following.

Anxiety, depression and post-binge-watching

Some research have linked binge-watching with increased stress, anxiety, and depression in consumers. It is not yet clear whether it is this compulsive remark that provokes them or, on the contrary, marathons are the consequence of poor mental health (a way to escape from reality). In any case, these are very relevant results.

On the other hand, consuming audiovisual content in this way engages viewers (especially children) with the characters and storylines of their series. By empathizing with them excessively or becoming attached to them, they may experience an emotional emptiness or low when the program ends.

This type of depression known as post-binge-watching It affects many minors. And it is linked to this modality of audiovisual consumption.

Sedentary lifestyle and bad living habits

He binge-watching causes children to spend long hours sitting on the sofa in front of screens, thus promoting a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. This has important health implications, since promotes overweight, low self-esteem, stress and discouragementit affects cognitive performance, impulse control, and increases the future risk of cardiovascular disease.

Neglecting other important areas

Finally, one of the most harmful factors is that these serial binges steal time from other activities that are essential; for example, free play, socialising, quality family time, or a good night’s rest.

Neglecting these areas to devote time to audiovisual content can have a major impact on a child’s proper development.

Series marathons take time away from other activities that would be more relevant, such as socializing or outdoor recreation.

How to prevent binge-watching in children?

If we talk about children, it is clear that the key to prevention binge-watching it is parental supervision. Parents need to regulate the amount of time their children spend in front of screens, limiting it to a reasonable range and paying attention not only to the type of content they consume, but also how they consume it.

It’s important to establish some guidelines, such as turning off the television during lunch or dinner, or not affecting bedtime because of a series. Similarly, it is necessary for adults to offer alternatives for children to spend their time.

Let them have fun in front of the TV it’s more comfortable, but it’s harmful. Engaging in family activities, arranging get-togethers and outings with other children, or enrolling them in extracurricular classes can be healthy alternatives.

In short, it is a question of becoming aware of the existence of this problem and of its seriousness and taking action to prevent it. Habits we pick up in childhood often stay with us into adulthood.

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