Binge-watching isn't exactly a new phenomenon — television networks have been running program marathons for decades — but its popularity has exploded, and with it hand-wringing about its potential downsides on human health.
A study from Deloitte, released in March, found that 70 percent of U.S. consumers now binge-watch shows, with millennials (aged 14-25) streaming more shows than they watch on traditional TV.
Numbers like those have prompted psychologists to study the activity's effects in recent years. And while it's still early, some experts are already sounding warning bells.
A 2015 University of Texas study, for instance, found that the more lonely and depressed you are, the more likely you are to binge-watch — and that the activity can be tied to a lack of self-control.
"Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way," said Yoon Hi Sung, one of the authors of the study. "Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching and they are a cause for concern."
Meanwhile, a 2013 report from Marketcast, an entertainment research firm, indicated binge-watching is an anti-social activity, with most viewers (56 percent) preferring to do it alone.
Classifications like "anti-social," "a cause of obesity" and "depression" might sound familiar to people who have followed the video game world. In the 1990s, as gaming was beginning to become a true force in the entertainment world, it faced similar criticisms. But while psychologists initially demonized the industry, they have since shifted their thinking, noting it, in fact, has many positive social and psychological benefits.