#BounceExclusive: Does TV Make You Sad?
Chidinma wakes up as early as 5am to watch reruns of some of her favorite shows on that trending Indian Channel.
It’s a daily ritual for her, before heading off to open her shop in Egbeda where she continues with the Spanish blend on that other channel.
On both stations, she follows with keen interest what is being translated to English language like her life depends on it.
Daily, she gives advertisers on these stations reason to smile and seek more spots on these channels.
However, she can feel a sense of loss after each session. The earlier thrills and shivers have been reduced to a shake of the head and some emptiness she feels from within.
If this sounds like a familiar situation, then you’re not alone.
In fact, recent research has shown that there is a link between binge-watching TV shows and depression.
University of Maryland sociologists using 30 years of data about self-evaluated happiness and media use, discovered that those who were the happiest watched TV for only two hours per day or less and spent a significant amount of time socializing with family and friends.
While does who spent more time watching television (binge watching) where sad and depressed.
Watching television has always been associated with laziness and a displacement of time that could be spent on more productive pursuits.
There have even been a few notable cases where binge-watching has affected productivity and even marriages.
In 2016 the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Ibadan Airport, prohibited staff and non-staff from watching the Telemundo channel, as it most likely was interfering with the worker’s output.
Another example was experienced by Pediatrician, Chibuzor Eze who got a bad taste of the ‘Telemundo and Zee World fever’.
The doctor threatened to divorce his wife of so many years because of her addiction to these foreign soap operas.
He said it was affecting their marital life, and because of her fixation, she had forgotten to pick up their 10-year-old daughter from school several times.
Clinical Psychologist and founder of PsychNG, Toyin Alatise Abimbola agrees to the fact that excessive television watching has long been linked to poor mental health and other physical issues, but no one really understands how they are even related.
"Watching television is a sedentary activity that frequently goes together with eating can put a person at risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.
"However, one may not know if depression and stress are caused by binge-watching, or if it is the other way around. In other words, people might binge-watch to temporarily alleviate preexisting feelings of stress and depression", she said.
Abimbola suggests getting enough sleep, simple aerobic exercises, eating healthy, and most of all getting out more, outside of going to work, will help prevent any possibility of depression while enjoying the pleasures provided by TV.
Despite this negativity connecting television with depression, we live in a time when there are a variety of shows that encourage social debate on issues that would normally never be spoken about in the open - rape, incest, domestic violence and sexual challenges.
These television channels provide 24 hour shows that are long-running, have intricate plots and morally complex characters, which does not necessarily dull the intellect and creates opportunities for critical engagement- if you have ever listened to Nigerians argue about a particular series that they love, the conversation sounds quite intelligent.
Or just ask Chidinma.
"I learn a lot from watching different series on Zee World. I learn how to relate with family, friends and even in-laws. Sometimes if I am sad when I watch Zee World I become happy".
For many residents of cities like Lagos, after coming back from work and surviving the trauma of both the job and the road congestion, binge watching can offer a psychological escape.
A good example is copywriter and fitness trainer, Chinwe Obiwanne who watches TV to recuperate after a long day.
"Watching television helps me relax, but what you watch and how long you watch are also very important", she said.
On the research conducted in the United States connecting watching too much television to depression, Chinwe told Bounce News.
"It’s like someone who enjoys watching ‘1000 ways to die’ it has a way of affecting their lives negatively and adds to the stress, but the truth is ‘Oyinbo’ people their mentality is not okay, anything can happen to them. They are very liberal, we draw more lines here that must not be crossed."
There is a thin line between extreme entertainment and addiction. It's best to substitute your deep TV habit with book reading and social conversations on how to have more impact on your community.
If not for your sake, remember your children. They are watching you and will do exactly what you do. And in most cases better than you!