We all love TV. We love the all the talk shows, news and of course our favorite TV shows. Above that thanks to streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, we now have the luxury of binge watching where you can watch an entire show in one go. However, this binge watching primarily and overall TV watching also comes with a lot harmful effects. So, with that in mind, we have compiled a list of 10 most harmful effects of too much TV watching.
But, before reading about the effects of too much TV watching, a question comes into mind that exactly how much TV is too much?
How much TV is too much?
According to a research, adults between age of 18-35 spend at average 23 hours tuned to a TV screen.
Researches suggest that this TV watching is harmful to our health irrespective of whether it is on a smartphone screen or traditional TV.
So, again just how much TV is too much? Well, the answer to that depends. However, you can check whether you watch too much or not by tracking the development of following trends, according to cheatsheet.
- You skip work for TV
- You watch TV shows you don’t even like.
- You ignore emergencies.
- You can’t sleep without watching TV.
If any of above trends are developing in you, you need to stay away from TV.
Harmful Effects of too much TV watching
There have been hundreds of harmful effects of too much TV watching according to various sources and researches. All those effects variate depending on the age and lifestyle of the viewer.
For this article, we have chosen the 10 most severe effects of too much TV watching.
1. It results in Obesity
Obesity and weight gain has been hugely linked to watching too much TV. And also it is quite obvious. The hours you spend on watching TV while sitting in sofa, eating some snacks, are going to increase your waistline quite a bit.
You could have used this to spend outside jogging, exercising or playing some sport as an alternative.
According to a research by University of Otago, New Zealand, every two hours that you spend on watching TV, increase the chance of obesity by 23 percents.
2. It can lead to Depression
Can watching TV excessively lead to depression? Well, research says it can.
Sociologists from University of Maryland analyzed of data from over 30 years and concluded that the people who have higher mental anxiety and are depressed used to or still watch at-least an hour more of TV than compared to those who are not depressed.
The reason for this can be attributed to lack of exposure to what is real outside of TV. When a person watches TV shows where characters fulfill their dreams and have so much, the viewer tries to correlate with them and instead he starts he feeling that maybe he is not enough because he is not as good-looking or successful like those characters.
Also, as explained earlier, TV watching causes obesity and in-turn obesity is one of the largest factors of depression.
3. Elevated Risk of Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes has also been hugely linked with excessive TV watching. According to a research by Harvard School of Public Health, more than 2 hours of TV daily elevates the risk of diabetes 2.
The link is again to obesity and lack of physical exercise. Obesity is the main reason for diabetes.
Moreover, the percentage by which this increase occurs is alarmingly 20 percent.
4. Cardiovascular Diseases
According to same research conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, excessive TV is also the reason for heart diseases .
The same results were found in a study published in Journal of American Heart Association, that adults who watch more than 4 hours of TV daily have twice the risk of heart diseases.
However, you can minimize this risk while also enjoying all episodes by regularly exercising.
Moreover, this trend is hugely linked specifically to binge-watching.
5. Premature Death
American Heart Association has informed us that excessive TV watching can also lead to an early death. Now, who would to die before their time? No one.
This risk was increased by 50 percent for people who watch more than four hours of TV daily.
The research concludes that sitting on a couch leisurely with eyes hooked into the TV increases fat deposition in blood vessels that could in-turn lead to higher chances of heart attacks. Thus, leading to a premature death.
6. It elevates the risk of Colorectal Cancer
According to a recent research, the chances of colorectal cancer are hugely increased by watching too much TV. Well all that has changed now.
This type of cancer that starts in the rectum was previously considered independent of body-mass-index and physical activity.
According to a research in British Journal of Cancer, the primary reason for colorectal cancer is found out to be lack of physical activity. So, it is no surprise that excessive TV watching is linked to it.
The research suggests that people who watch more than 4 hours of TV daily on average have 35 percent higher chance of colorectal cancer as compared to those who only watch TV for 1 hour.
You can read more about Colorectal Cancer Here.
7. Increased Risk of Alzheimer
Alzheimer’s diseases is the loss of brain cells that lead to memory loss in the long run.
The effects of this disease show up much more sooner as compared to other harmful effects.
Research was conducted by Northern California Institute for Research & Education, and it concluded that people who watch more than 4 hours of TV on average daily, score much less in cognitive performance.
This study monitored people for 25 years from their childhood to adulthood.
Researchers claim that the results carry a powerful message that people can dampen the decline of memory by simply changing their lifestyle and reducing TV hours and increasing physical exercise.
8. It can cause Insomnia
Insomnia is a disorder where the person affected by it experiences a general sleeplessness.
University of Michigan conducted study in which they analyzed 423 adults’ lifestyle in correspondence to their TV watching habits. They concluded that over 80% of young adults binge watch TV shows for a long duration once in weak. And among those, 32% claimed that their this habit has caused sleeplessness.
Furthermore, binge watching reduces the speed of cool down after the session. As according to them, they are more liable to keep on thinking about the show after watching 2 or 3 episodes instead of just one.
In contrast, regular TV watching is less harmful in this scenario as compared to binge watching.
9. TV damages your self-esteem
TV promotes consumerism and in turn hurts your self-esteem.
During a typical hour of TV, you are also exposed 20-30 minutes of commercials. Those commercials are constantly bombarding you with stuff which they want you to buy.
So, how do they compel you? Firstly, they make you feel bad that you don’t have this stuff and hurt your self-esteem. And then they sell you products and services by claiming that this will enhance your self-esteem.
So, what happens in the end? You end buying a lot of stuff that you don’t really want or need and also loose a lot of hard-earned cash, which down the road makes you more sad and depressed.
10. It kind of makes you dumb
TV damages your health. But even more than that it also makes you dumb, by damaging your perception.
The reason for this is that TV appears or claims to portray or present reality. That is true to a certain degree only, as narrative of that reality can be altered easily and when it does present unaltered reality, it only shows a glimpse of it. Typically, this happens during newscasts. Whenever, we are watching a newscast, it wants to tell us that is all there to be seen. But in reality it can never be all of it.
And also unfortunately, most people just accept whatever newscasts tell them, without ever confirming by other sources that whatever is being told is indeed the truth.
This can shape minds in a certain direction in the long run. If not then the term media manipulation would not exist.
As finding the actual truth requires effort and hard work which we don’t want to and except TV newscasts to do it for us. And in result we develop a distorted view of reality.
So, TV is bad to health, to self-esteem and damages perception of reality. But in current digital world, it is practically impossible to stay away from screens. That’s a truth.
So, how can we avoid all these effects?
The answer to that is very simple. Just balancing TV watching with physical exercise and having a skeptical eye for newscast will minimize the chances of these harmful risks.