Television addiction: what should I know?

According to an analysis of the data platform Statista, television consumption in the world was 167 minutes per day on average, per person, during 2019. However, these figures have increased in 2020 due to subscriptions to the services of streaming. Are we facing a population with television addiction?

In the first half of 2020 alone, Netflix grew by 108% in Spain, 37% in the United States and 32% in Mexico. Due to this wide dissemination, it is common that questions arise related to its impact on people's lives. In this article we will tell you the key aspects that you should know about television addiction.

How to detect addiction to television?

We are in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, which is characterized by the convergence of various technologies that profoundly affect human life. The internet of things, artificial intelligence and accelerated changes in communications are some of its characteristics.

Enjoying television for a long time or watching a series in one “sit-down” is not synonymous with addiction. According to the "Addiction Manual for psychologists specializing in clinical psychology in training", funded by the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality of the Government of Spain, addictions are characterized by loss of control over behavior.

Likewise, they generate a degree of tolerance and dependence with a consequent withdrawal syndrome and negative impact. If you perceive that you have a desire to watch television that prevents you from developing other activities and detaching yourself from the screen, pay special attention.

It is important to know that there are certain people who have a greater vulnerability to addictive behaviors. Children and adolescents are populations that tend to be addicted to television more frequently. Likewise, people with a poor social life or with diagnoses of anxiety and depression.

The constant practice of consuming screens can respond to an existential boredom that becomes a vicious circle.

Continue reading: Early use of technology: my son is addicted to the tablet

What are your symptoms?

According to an article from the Complutense University that studies the behaviors that indicate addiction problems to new technologies in minors, the symptoms are similar to those of withdrawal caused by dependence on psychoactive substances, established in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" of the American Psychiatric Association.

These are the most frequent:

  • Relaxation and exacerbated pleasure when watching television.
  • Feeling nervous or restless when you cannot watch television.
  • Frequent and obsessive thoughts about a program or series.
  • Dependence and need to see more and more to feel comfortable.
  • Reduction of the time dedicated to other activities for watching television
  • Feeling of impossibility to stop watching television, even when it has been detected that consumption is being abused.

What treatment is there for addiction to television?

An article entitled "Hidden addiction: television" reviews various psychological studies carried out on the subject and indicates that it is advisable identify the amount of time you watch television. In addition, it is necessary to make a plan that indicates a limited time to dedicate to the device.

The accompaniment of the family is essential in the process of overcoming an addiction to television. Household members should be involved to create other entertainment spaces and limit the number and location of televisions, if necessary.

However, the accompaniment of a professional therapist is the most important. It is advisable to have group or individual sessions with a psychologist to delve into the causes of the behavior in order to correct it.

Keep discovering: 7 reasons to go to the psychologist

How can it be prevented?

Television itself is not negative. However, it is advisable to choose programs or series that make strong contributions, are commensurate with the age of the viewer and are consumed in a moderate way.

A simple technique that allows you to develop willpower and discipline is to set times for screen consumption and dedicate spaces for total disconnection.

As a family, it is necessary to do prevention by teaching children from an early age to have a critical attitude towards the media and information technologies. To do this, it is necessary to instill reflections on programming and be careful with an overly fanciful identification with television characters.

Creating a secure attachment style that allows children and adolescents to communicate openly with parents and feel comfortable at home is critical to preventing addiction behaviors.

Tips for overcoming television addiction

Although the treatment of an addiction requires the accompaniment of a psychologist, there are some actions that you can begin to do to overcome the addiction to television.

1. Identify other activities you enjoy

Exercising, painting, dancing, knitting, cooking, gardening, or reading are some options that they can help you take your mind off television and enjoy other spaces.

2. Practice meditation

One of the best techniques to have a healthy and well-being life is the mindfulness. This mental exercise will help you enjoy the present moment and drive away the thoughts that lead to addiction.

Meditation and relaxation activities can be an interesting counterpart to regulating television addiction.

3. Ask for collaboration from family and friends

Having an addiction should not be a cause for shame. Talking about the issue with your closest circle can help you get through the situation. Spaces for recreation with other people and strong friendship ties will allow you to develop stimulating activities.

Don't give up on television addiction

When there is an addiction, it is common for people to feel that they will not be able to overcome it. However, the evidence shows that, With the correct accompaniment and treatment, it is possible to end addictive behaviors.

Taking the first step is always a brave act. Therefore, if you feel that television consumption is getting out of control and dominating you, it is time to ask for help.