My family's enforcing screen time rules on me. They call it an online binge watching intervention.
True, my habits are out of control and interfering with my life. I probably average three hours a day of binge watching television shows online and, on some days, up to seven hours of serious bingeing on a show.
I've even put the iPad outside the shower door just so I can keep watching an episode of The Killing while showering. Can you imagine how ridiculous it is trying to wash yourself while continually wiping circles on the steamy shower door to see through, just so you can binge watch a murder mystery?
Even the toilet is no longer a peaceful place for me.
The problem is squeezing binge watching into days which are already crammed full of work, sports, family commitments, after-school activities and all the rest. I'm not just saving my binge watching till the evening but sneaking it in during the day, at any opportunity. Highly unproductive because I also work from home.
I'm like my four-year-old who steals our iPad and hides under her bed to watch Doc McStuffins. Except I use excuses to the family like "got to dash upstairs to send an email!" just to sneak half an hour with Jamie Fraser.
A Netflix survey last year found 73% of people define "binge watching" as watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting. I'd do that easy, and sometimes more.
Apparently binge watching is viewed by some as a "smart, contemplative way of watching TV." Really? My brain doesn't feel very clever after a binge. My eyes are bloodshot. And I don't think straight. I sacrifice a productive yoga session and a 30-minute run for a fix of drug-dealing kingpin Walter White, or the endearing prison ratbags at Litchfield Penitentiary.
In my view the smart, contemplative way of watching TV is not bingeing but spacing out my viewing. Using discipline to watch only one episode of each show per week to prolong the series. Which is what my family is suggesting I do because I feel empty after the series is complete.
But, like any binge watching addict, I really don't think I can. I need a fix now. In fact, as I write this I'm hurrying so I can watch another episode of Orange Is The New Black.
The only thing that will stop me is probably a massive Internet meltdown. If your binge watching is also out of control you might identify with the following:
1. Your partner starts enforcing screen time rules for you.
2. You haven't exercised for a week because you've used that time to binge watch instead.
3. You have recurring dreams featuring characters like Walter White, Piper Chapman and Jamie Fraser engaged in a weird threesome.
4. When facing a tricky work problem you think: "What would Frank Underwood do?"
5. Your eyes are dry and bloodshot after a few hours of binge watching, and your IQ has dropped several points. But you don't care.
6. Your partner (who never binge watches) asks you out for a rare date night and you decline. You'd rather spend it on the couch binge watching a final series.
7. You stop reading your favourite informative novels before bedtime and binge watch rubbish instead.
8. You find yourself still awake at 12.30am because you need to watch the next episode and the next, and the next.
9. You let the kids binge watch DVDs so you can keep binge watching your online TV series in peace.
10. When, if you work at home like me, you change daily deadlines and procrastinate starting projects so you can watch a couple of hours of online TV.
11. When you sign up for a month's free trial of new online services just so you can cram as many "free" shows into your day. Then cancel before you have to subscribe.
12. When you know you should be disciplined and watch just a couple of episodes of your favourites series over several weeks. But you can't.
13. When you find yourself binge watching while you're sitting on the toilet or while showering by watching a show through the shower screen, you know you've got a problem.