What is the Downside of Watching Too Much TV?

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This is the golden age of television. Hundreds of exhilarating shows and exclusive programs make their way on TV annually, satisfying viewers to no end. When you come back home after a tiring day at work, plopping into your favorite chair and turning to your favorite series gives you a deep sense of relaxation and relief. TV takes you on a roller coaster ride, away from the harsh reality of the world, and tingles all the feel-good hormones. Depending on the kind of TV provider you have, you can dive into an ocean of entertainment, spanning from local networks to international channels. Click this link to explore the best channel lineups in this regard.

Besides the entertainment value and beneficial qualities, television has a dark side, too, which often remains unexplored. Yes, watching too much television can ruin your health and relationships. Let’s discuss the downsides of watching too much TV below, so you can avoid this habit and bring the balance back into your life.

Becoming Obese

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Television watching and compulsive eating go hand in hand. Most of the time, when we are absorbed in a TV show, we can’t help but drill into that bag of chips or open a can of our favorite beverage or empty that box of cookies, even though we are not hungry. This type of dietary intake is called “distraction eating” – a term coined by a 2024 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Where does it lead? To obesity. The imbalance of calories creates an accumulation of fat, increasing the body mass index and presenting a great blow to the viewer’s health.

Suffering from Sleep Deficiency

Sleep does miracles for your body. It replenishes brain activity, repairs blood vessels, maintains hormonal growth, and ensures emotional well-being, as an NHLBI report indicates. Yet, watching too much TV hinders the natural progress of the sleep cycle, especially if it is done later in the night. The constant media consumption prevents the brain from shutting down, which, in turn, renders you incapable of falling asleep. This gives rise to sleep disturbances and you end up suffering from sleep deficiency, which upsets the motor neurons and disrupts your daily performance.

Risking Heart Attacks

Source: medicalnewstoday.com

A 2019 Harvard Health study published an astounding correlation between watching too much television and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The researchers interviewed more than 3,000 adults and observed their TV viewing habits for a period of 8 years. About one-third of them watched TV for less than two hours a day, while another third watched TV for more than four hours. This latter group showed a 49% higher probability of attracting heart diseases, strokes, diabetes, and even death than the former group. Thus, sitting for hours on end slows down metabolism and adversely affects your circulatory system, which is the domain of your heart.

Generating Social Isolation

Besides damaging the body, watching too much TV also feeds into your social anxiety. Declining all invitations for social gatherings and preferring to binge-watch television shows gives way to social isolation, depression, and loneliness. When you stay in and binge-watch a TV series instead of going to a party and interacting with your social circles, you substitute TV for human companionship, which takes a toll on your mental health. How? It diminishes your social skills and obstructs you from acting “normally” in social gatherings. Moreover, you are unable to maintain healthy relationships with your work colleagues, friends, family and even, loved ones, who feel ignored and taken for granted.

Impacting Young Viewers Negatively

A child’s young impressionistic mind is like a sponge. It absorbs influences from the environment and shapes thoughts, opinions, ideas, and behavior accordingly. Though you may try to filter the TV content via parental controls, if your kid watches too much TV, chances are that he or she will eventually come into contact with graphic movies or TV shows, one way or another. This type of exposure to brutal TV content may desensitize your children to the negative nuances of violence, making it likely for them to grow up into aggressive adults.

Promoting Consumerism

Television airs programs around the clock and those programs are punctuated with loads of commercials. An average viewer sees about 50,000 ads per year. The purpose of these ads is to persuade you to act on their intentions, which could be anything from buying the promoted products to signing up for advertised services. In other words, TV impels you to purchase things you don’t even need, and the more you get exposed to these ads, the less you are able to disregard them. Thus, television promotes consumerism in viewers who watch it religiously, which lands them in a cash crunch and a whole lot of debt by the end of the month.

Addicting Tendency

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Seeking sources of gratification is a quintessentially human trait. Some people experience catharsis when they shop online, while others find happiness in books. The same is the case with people who love their TV time. It is a great means of de-stressing. However, watching too much television can turn into an addiction if unchecked. When watching television becomes an addiction, you can’t help but keep your eyes glued to the screen even though you know it is bad for you. Since it tickles the pleasure center in your brain, you give yourself up to the 24/7 programming, depending on it endlessly to provide you happiness, despite its negative side effects.

Wrapping Up

Television has a constant presence in our lives. No home is complete without it. Watching television is one of the best ways to spend leisure time and bond with the family on game nights. Yet, overindulging in this activity introduces many downsides to the equation, like the ones covered in this post. So, avoid watching too much TV in one sitting. Instead, distribute your hours evenly between watching a TV show, getting some fresh air, chatting with loved ones, and fulfilling the day-to-day tasks with precision.