Binge-watching or binge-watching in children: what can you do?

Binge-watching or binge-watching in children: what can you do?

Children also do series marathons and this type of consumption can affect their development, their mood and their health. We tell you what binge-watching consists of.

Binge-watching or binge-watching in children: what can you do?
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: January 09, 2022

Who hasn’t succumbed to watching a full season of their favorite series in a couple of days? Children, youth and adults we 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 known as binge-watching.

This term that has become popular in recent years is composed of the word binge, which means ‘binge’, and 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 doing series marathons.

Although this trend affects all age groups, the little ones are especially vulnerable. Due to their cognitive and emotional immaturity, they are more likely to be hooked In this television addiction

But also, in your developing body 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 occur?

As we have commented, the binge-watching It consists of bingeing on audiovisual content, consuming large amounts of it indiscriminately in a short period of time. This practice has been spreading since the arrival and popularization of platforms of streaming.

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

  • Block content is released. This allows us to have an entire season (or even a complete series) in a single day, instead of having to wait a whole week for the premiere of a new chapter.
  • Chaining of chapters. When one finishes, the next one starts automatically in a few seconds. We do not have to decide if we want to continue watching and we do not have time to do so.
  • Possibility of skipping the introduction and the credits. These options reinforce our need for immediacy. The human brain does not tolerate waiting well, and thus we can get rid of it.
  • Many of the titles intended for children include interactive and game elements. These manage to capture and hold the attention of children for longer periods.

All of the above have 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 continue doing the same activity.

In children, whose self-control resources are more limited, this effect is enhanced.

Children suffer more seriously the effects of spending many hours in front of a screen.


Main consequences of binge-watching or binge-watching in children

Although we think that the binge-watching It is more typical of adults, children (if they do not have supervision) also suffer from it and the large platforms know it. In fact, according to a report of Nielsen, in the year 2020, 36% of the most viewed programs in streaming They were aimed at children and pre-adolescent audiences.

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The repercussions for minors they can be severe. Among the main ones are the following.

Anxiety, depression and post-binge-watching

Some research binge-eating has been linked to increased stress, anxiety, and depression in users. It is not yet clear whether it is this compulsive observation that causes them or, on the contrary, marathons are the consequence of poor mental health (a way to escape from reality). In any case, these are highly relevant findings.

On the other hand, consuming audiovisual content in this way makes viewers (especially children) get involved with the characters and plots of their series. By empathizing with them excessively or becoming fond of, by the time the program ends they may experience an emotional downturn or emptiness.

This kind of depression known as pos-binge-watching affects many minors. And it is related to this mode of audiovisual consumption.

Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy lifestyle habits

The binge-watching causes children to spend long hours sitting on the sofa in front of screens, thus encouraging a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. This has significant health implications, as favors overweight, low self-esteem, stress and discouragement, affects cognitive performance, impulse control and increases future risk for cardiovascular disease.

Neglect of other important areas

Finally, one of the most damaging factors is that These binges on series steal time from other activities that are essential; for example, free play, socializing, quality family time, or a night’s rest.

Neglecting these areas to spend time consuming audiovisual content can have a strong impact on proper child development.

Series marathons take time away from other activities that would be more relevant, such as socializing or leisure in the open air.


How to prevent binge-watching in children?

If we talk about children, it is evident that the key to preventing binge-watching it’s parental supervision. Parents have to regulate the amount of time their children spend in front of the screens, limiting them to a reasonable range and taking care not only of the type of content they consume, but also the way they do it.

It is important to set some guidelines, such as turning off the television during lunch or dinner, or not disturbing your bedtime because of a series. In the same way, it is necessary for adults to propose alternatives to children to pass their time.

Let them entertain themselves in front of the television it is more comfortable, but it is detrimental. Carrying out family activities, organizing meetings and outings with other children, or enrolling them in after-school classes can be healthy alternatives.

Ultimately, it is about becoming aware of the existence of this problem and its severity and acting to prevent it. The habits that we acquire in childhood tend to accompany us into adulthood.

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