Every week we spend about 16 hours of our lives watching a series. It may seem like a lot, but it is the consumption data. Rare is the person who has not contracted a platform that offers more movies and series than we can watch. It is an industry that moves more than 100,000 million worldwide. The series have become part of our routine: “I have an account and I share it with three other people. I get home from work and disconnect watching a couple of episodes, it suits me very well,” says Daniela, who has accounts on different platforms and sees them daily: “TV has a lot of ads, on the platforms you can see as many as you want without interruption and without having to wait for them to be released”.
“I don’t want to stay out of the conversations”
For his part, Hugo acknowledges feeling the need to press the “next chapter” button every time one ends: “If I start a series I can’t stop, I have to watch the series so that no one gives me a spoiler.” There is a name that defines the addiction to the series, it is called ‘seriephilia’. More and more cases are detected. Lucía reached a point where she felt guilty: “At first I had only one platform, but they premiere so many series that I don’t want to be left out of those conversations, so I have to watch them all.”
You feel identified? How can you recognize has become a problem? Like every Tuesday, at COPE’s ‘La Linterna’ we talk about mental health with our primary psychologist. Aurora Garcia Moreno explains why they are so addictive: “They have a low cognitive cost, do not require any effort just listen and see. Also because they release accumulated sensations or because evade reality, especially in people who are going through a bad time”. In addition to all this, the connection with the characters is a factor that influences the desire to continue watching series: “A certain empathy is established, you identify with the character and participate with what they feel, with what they think… which encourages you to delve into the story and not miss any chapter”.
The keys to detect that you are addicted to the series
Aurora clarifies that watching series can become an addiction, in the same way that alcohol is, and can lead to serious mental health problems: “It can cause personality problems, self-control, impulsiveness, and mood swings. What occurs is an alteration of a part of the brain that is related to reward and pleasure, a large amount of dopamine is released that makes the person want to continue watching series automatically. This can cause the viewer to lose track of time, neglecting their daily chores. Furthermore, as in any other type of addition, withdrawal syndrome may occur: “They don’t stop thinking about the series and have anxiety, feeling the need to subscribe to all platforms.”
When does it become an addiction?: “When it affects the development of work or school activities, or even stopping doing activities that you liked, such as sports or meeting friends. Such is the level of dependency that even hygiene is neglectedAurora warns. To detect it, you have to be very aware of your habits and identify how many hours you are watching the series: “It is best to follow the eight hour rule: eight hours to sleep, eight to work and eight to play”.
Finally, the psychologist explains how it can be prevented: “It is very important to limit exposure time to avoid negative consequences and, instead, practice other activities such as reading or sports.”
How to detect that you have become addicted to the series and what is the “eight hour rule”