The world has been opened up to binge-watching, enabling whole generations of people to stop what they’re doing and watch an entire season for hours… and hours! Even thirty years ago, there were fears that people were watching too much T.V., but today people really can find themselves watching their favorite series and not much else.
For students, doing assignments, papers, and essays are a way of life and have strict deadlines. Meanwhile, their compulsive need to watch a television series can mean, for example, not handing their essays on addiction in on time, which becomes a great obstacle to doing their assignments. Is this just another form of procrastination, though, or is there something more insidious going on here?
It’s Not Your Fault (Not Entirely)
Before chiding yourself too hard over watching nine hours of your favorite T.V. show in a row, realize that inexplicable feeling to keep watching isn’t just out of a desire to “see what happens”. It’s also motivated by your body’s chemistry.
When people watch a television series that gives them pleasure, the brain releases dopamine into their systems, enhancing that feeling of pleasure. That signals us to keep doing what we’re doing and keep the pleasure going. As a result, that addiction really is partially chemical and not just procrastination.
It Will Keep You from Assignments
Watching tv, especially binge-watching, is like the beginning of drug addiction. No, this won’t result in you pawning off your mom’s wedding ring, but it can still have negative consequences.
A family watching tv tends to have a group-imposed limitation as to how long they’ll watch until they go to bed or engage in another activity. With students, there usually isn’t a group of people to encourage them to do their homework in the same way. As a result, they’re allowed to indulge themselves and all of that dopamine for free.
This can result in students spending all of their time on the couch with a good series to watch, but with little time spent on actually doing an assignment. Before they know it, they’ve caught up with all of the T.V. shows that they watch so much of, but they may also find that they’re also failing all of their classes!
Are Some Shows More Addictive Than Others?
Despite all of the other indicators as to why a television series forms a distraction, there are many people who believe that some T.V series are actually more addictive than others. This has come to a point where a minority claims of them that some of their favorite shows won’t permit anyone to change the channel.
So, is there anything to this? Well, there isn’t a single series yet that dispenses habit-forming drugs through the screen, so they aren’t addictive in any literal way. The only other way to accomplish this would be to put subliminal messaging into the series with messages like “Watch this show.” or some other compulsive command. This practice is not just unethical, it’s also illegal in most countries.
The idea that people put forward as to why a show won’t let people stop watching is their popularity. This seems like a good argument to some, but it’s also one that’s essentially specious.
A good, must-watch T.V. series is popular because it has good writing, good acting, high production values, or it simply hits the population with the right premise at the right time.
The Procrastination Station
Binge-watching, at least when it comes to students, may not all be about addiction, as many essays about addiction may claim. The one thing that affects anyone who has work to do is something that brings down many more people than addictions to television: procrastination.
Yes, it has hounded many a writer, teacher, and student. When a person doesn’t want to do their work, they’ll find any distraction they can to keep them from it. Binge-watching, in some cases, is all about not wanting to leave that couch and actually do their assignment!
Although it can be argued that watching hours of a series can become a form of addiction, there is also the case to be argued that some students would just as easily spend the day at the beach, rather than work. Watching television is just their poison of choice when avoiding doing assignments.
It’s also been shown that procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt about not doing work and rather than actually get to that work, people will sink deeper into that other activity. In that way, binge-watching may just be a way of avoiding the assignment.
There’s nothing to say that a student has to give up their binge-worthy shows, but a student’s life is a busy one, and getting assignments done also means exercising some self-control.
Yes, that’s a four-letter word for many people, but it’s also important for a student to schedule time to indulge in their favorite shows on the couch, rather than to keep that screen on at all times.
In the end, yes an addiction to a television series is an obstacle to getting work done for students or anyone else, for that matter! But, adopting a few changes to one’s lifestyle can take care of that with some effort.