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Falling Into The Trap of Television

“Who will Rachel choose to date? Tune in next time on Love is Like a Boat?” BOOM BOOM, your heart goes, as you think about the pros of each guy, thinking that it's the moment that will affect the show forever. Your hand moves toward the “next” button, without any thought or consideration- as your homework stares at you shaking its head no. When we often watch television, we are deeply immersed in the fantasy of the show worlds. You sink in another episode, forgetting to swim back to reality. We ponder to ourselves, how their actions and choices can be beneficial or detrimental to their lives or the overall plot when in reality, we tend to forget that-indeed the show isn’t real. Yes, shows can be based on real events, yet shows are reenactments of perceptions of events. We spent minutes, hours, days - telling ourselves “Just one more episode” because taking a break and focusing on other tasks leads to the question “What happens next?” to constantly appear in our mind as our electronics hypnotizes us to come back for more, ignoring family, friends, or significant others who need us.

Overall, technology has a detrimental effect on communication. When taking a closer glimpse at binge-watching habits, not necessarily just watching tv for important news, or the weather, the statement becomes heavily justified to a certain extent of course. First, the term relationship is often referred to as just a bond between one and their significant other. However, it does include the bond you have with family and friends. Binge-watching firsthand induces lying. It’s imply a drug many get addicted to. Neglecting others occurs when you feel as if you can’t stop watching as time goes on and on. As the clock races, you simply think the time is paused for you-your in the sense “lost in a trance”. When in fact, the clock is going at 100 miles per hour, waiting for you to realize that your time is in your hands- and what you choose to do with it, all depends on you. Lying to your girlfriend saying you're held up at work or texting your friends saying you can’t make it because something came up, are some of the many typical excuses TVs shows program our mind to make. The goal is to make it simple to unplug yourself from the rest of society into a place where you think the power is in your hands- when in fact you end up sinking, losing total control.

Binge-watching not only correlates with the way you act with people, but it also correlates with how it will affect you as a person. For example, studies have proven binge-watching can lead to depression. Depression, a word that is commonly used as something to self diagnose ourselves when we are sad, yet this word right here- a very powerful one. When an interaction is eradicated from your life, the fewer deeply developed relationships you have can decrease your overall mood or outlook of life. This also puts you in risks for social anxiety, as you will find yourself forgetting what it's like to spend time with one another, spending your time at social gatherings, of course-on your phone-because it puts you in a box, where you can’t escape.

Staying up late, not being able to complete your work, as you wake up the next morning droopy eyes, piles of tasks sitting on the desk, the only mindset-what happens next? This leads to the ideology that even when you are physically surrounded by people, you aren’t there- in the sense being lost in your mind, walking in the middle of nowhere. Especially during Covid-19, it's easy to get roped into these bad habits. Not being able to go outside, or accomplish physical activity can lead to behaviors such as binge-watching. The key people tend to forget is to distract yourself and not view binge-watching as your only enjoyment. The relationships you have with humans is like no other, the ability to communicate is a beautiful thing that is often underrated. Physical activity does not refer to only just going out with loved ones, but connecting with them and keeping in contact makes your brain more active and gives you a feeling of joy and satisfaction. The wiring of your brain is desperate from human interaction, not only as stress decreases or battling mental health disorders-its overall about not being trapped in harmful habits such as binge-watching.

But, why is it justified? Because society sets us up too. Studies show that people rather text than have face-to-face, which is the cause of binge-watching habits. When you binge-watch in the comfort of your home, when you go out to social gatherings the mentality is you if you're bored, you have easy access on your phone, shifting your attention to the world in your Netflix. Thus, limiting how the flow of conversations flows when you are in person or how much attention/angry is put into a conversation. When you are often caught up in fantasy, you tend to also forget how to empathize/sympathize. Because watching tv, you are watching someone else's else like play out, you forget how to piece the puzzle of your own life. Forgetting to be noted for signals when someone's feelings are hurt, or forgetting to put yourself in their shoes.

The ability to disconnect can create connections. The idea of being alone binge watching creates loneliness. It creates the imagery of having people to talk to but feeling like you only want to talk to yourself. When doing this, we tend to value our phones more than human connection. This leads to breakups, weakened friendship, and strained relationships with all..for what? The satisfaction of clicking next to continue with a fantasy? The best part about being with others is that you get to learn more about yourself. Spending time with the people who care about you most, a TV show can’t.

Picture this: Laying in bed on Friday night, curled up on the sofa, like bags of chips molding around you, cans of soda are on the table, blinds closed as you have forgotten what light looks like - watching a horror movie. The murder is hiding in a room and as the detective is trying to escape, you repeatedly yell: “DONT GO IN THERE….NO….NO…. I CAN'T LOOK”, yet they do and their throat gets cut off. You fall apart, broken… tears drip down your shoulder, you feel weak, feeling lost and hopeless, wishing they listen to you. Now, you may be wondering, why is this relevant? Because, unlike having control over who your friends are, how to live your life, and having the choice of letting go of bad habits- you don’t have control over the plot of the movie. You have to reclaim your social life, initiate conversations, and strengthen relationships.

-Afua Siaw

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