We love to watch our favorite TV shows but rarely think about the mental impact they have on us. However, studies have shown they can have quite an effect both positive and negative.
An alarming new study
An alarming new study showed that teen suicide rates increased after the premiere of the show "13 Reasons Why" in March of 2017.
The research conducted by the Nationwide Children's Hospital looked at monthly and annual rates of suicide reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2013 through 2017.
They found that the month following the release of the show had a suicide rate of 0.57 per 100,000 for 10- to 17-year-olds. The nine months after witnessed an extra 195 deaths by suicide in this same age group.
The study published Monday in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry warned that the show needs to be approached with caution.
"The release of 13 Reasons Why was associated with a significant increase in monthly suicide rates among U.S. youth aged 10 to 17 years. Caution regarding the exposure of children and adolescents to the series is warranted," read the study.
However, it is not all bad news for TV. Other research has found that shows can have a positive effect.
Good for mental health
One 2012 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that repeatedly watching your favorite shows over and over again was good for mental health.
"Unlike the survival motives that drive evolutionary psychology, we find that consumers who chose to repeat hedonic experiences even just once are expressing and affirming their individual experience and its special meanings to them," the study authors wrote in their paper's conclusion.
In other words, these shows brought meaning and happiness to the watchers even if they had seen them before. Both studies are important because they show widely different takes on the same topic.
In this case, it is not so much the medium(TV) but rather the content of the shows that makes a difference. As such the conclusion to be drawn here is that it matters what you watch.
What do you think? Is TV good or bad for you?