May 28, 2020
Did scientists really say binge-watching causes depression? No.
Why are you so sad and lonely all the time? Is it because you haven’t accepted Christ into your heart and produced for him a quiver full of children? Is it because you’re stuck in Folsum Prison while the world moves on without you as symbolized by a train to San Antonio?
No, of course not! It’s because of television! Just check out these headlines:
- Does Binge-Watching Make Us Depressed? Good Question (NPR)
- Study: Binge-watching TV might make you sad (Entertainment Weekly)
- Television Is Probably Making You Depressed: Here’s Why (Science World Report)
- Netflix Binge-Watching Makes You Depressed, Study Finds (iDigitalTimes)
NOOOOOO! We trusted you, television! You were our friend! How could you betray us like this? We dedicated our entire website to you, and this is how you repay us.
Hey, wait a minute… Why is it that the less likely I am to have heard of a news outlet, the more certain the headline is that binge-watching is making us depressed. The headlines go from asking a question to “might” to “probably” to declaration of fact as we drift further away from the source. It’s kind of like that telephone game we all played in kindergarten, or like talking to a Republican.
The truth isn’t hard to find. The researchers themselves put out a press release that’s only five paragraphs long.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that the more lonely and depressed you are, the more likely you are to binge-watch. […] They found that the more lonely and depressed the study participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch TV, using this activity to move away from negative feelings.
Why, that’s pretty much the exact opposite of the headlines. Depression leads to binge-watching, not the other way around.
And don’t think you get a pass for phrasing your headline in the form of a question, NPR. Any time your headline can be answered with a simple “No,” you’ve done something wrong. Does your favorite soup determine your income potential? Is your ice maker trying to kill your pets? Can orange mittens ward off vampire attacks?
Don’t worry, television. I’ll never let those mean, awful journalists tear us apart.