Are Television and Video Games Really Harmful for Kids

Are Television and Video Games Really Harmful for Kids.

 “Are Television and Video Games Really Harmful for Kids?”

Do television and video games have any benefit for children besides enjoying their free times? What can children learn from the television or video games? Nakamuro, Inui, Senoh, and Hiromatsu (2015) conducted a study to find out whether TV and video games are harmful to children as people view them in their article: “Are Television and Video Games Harmful for Kids?”. The authors started with parents concerned, either for their children’s sedentary lifestyle, problem behaviors, education, or relationship with their friends and siblings. The authors’ concentrate was on children’s development and their health. Furthermore, measured them in three parts: relevant literature, data, and empirical results. They analyzed and compared the data and came to a conclusion that watching television and playing video games was harmful to children development, though the magnitude of the effect was sufficiently small to be considered negligible.

First, Nakamuro, et al. (2015) aimed at resolving questions raised by parents whose school-aged kids spent considerable time watching television or video games rather than doing school-related work. The majority of parents are worried that children spending too much time watching TV  or video games may have a negative influence on their behavior, health, and personal development. However, there is inadequate information on the measurements of these effects due to data limitation. The study aimed at analyzing secondary data derived from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare using statistical methods to measure the effects. The literature reviewed showed mixed findings that focused on the cause rather than the measurement. “Mostly in medical science, have provided considerable evidence for the negative effect of TV and video games on various outcomes for children” (p. 31). This was their first result of television and video games effects on children. In addition to this result, the authors continued their research in social science. However, the studies in the social science had not a negative result only. According to the article, when children spend their times playing video games for hours, it could lead to decrease not only educational activities but also, other study found that playing video games lead to a decline in crime and death rates. The study by Nakamuro, et al. (2015) would help bridge the gap using the longitudinal dataset from a government agency collected over a period.

The second part was data. In formulating the research methodology, Nakamuro, et al. (2015) focused on early childhood that was neglected in previous studies, children’s behavior, social integration and health as outcomes. They used the longitudinal dataset from Japanese Ministry of Health to control unobserved variations in child and family characteristics (Nakamuro, et al., 2015). According to the article, this survey was completed even though it was a random sampling. It targeted all the 53,575 newborn babies in Japan born during January 10-17 and July 10-17, 2001. However, those newborn babies were organized in a longitudinal dataset of nine waves. “From Waves 1 through 6, the surveys were conducted six months postpartum on August 1, 2001, and February 1, 2002. One and a half years after Wave 6, Waves 7 through 9 were carried out on January 18 and July 18, indicating that the subjects in these waves reached school age in the same grade (G1 through G3) at the time of the survey” (P. 32). As a result of that, 90% of the total was the response rate. For the final wave, 75% of the initial sample completed the questionnaire. Nonetheless, the study relied on the average daily hours of watching TV and playing video games on both weekdays and the weekend. Also, the authors considered the socioeconomic and the demographic variable of the family such as whether the parents are employed or not, the number of siblings, and the children’s lifestyle.

Lastly, empirical results. The outcomes of the study were based on problem behaviors, orientation to school and obesity with the key variables being the average daily hours of watching TV and of playing video games. When children spend most of their times of the day without their family, that will lead to negative results.  “The more hours children spent at home alone after school, the more they exhibited severe problem behaviors. However, the standardized coefficients for children’s lifestyle variables were not as significant as those for TV and video games, indicating that parental involvement in children’s lifestyle partly offsets the negative effect of television and video games” (PP. 35, 36). Nevertheless, consequences of the lifestyle do affect children when it comes to watching TV or playing video games. Also, the hours spent watching TV has an effect on the orientation of school for both boys and girls. The results on obesity indicated that children who spend most of their time watching TV are likely to suffer from obesity. The dataset used in the study lacked adequate information on the contents of the TV channels or video games that would help the researchers in making an informed decision in analyzing the data. Not all content on TV is harmful content, and some of the channels contain educative content that would affect the children positively. The empirical results were persuasive, and some of the results complemented some of the reviewed literature meaning that the study was successful.

In conclusion, this article used good examples, studies, tables, and statics to figure out whether watching TV and playing video games is harmful to children or not. As we saw in most of the examined data and examples, they tried to prove that spending hours in front of TV could lead to a serious issue for children. Finally, the authors found in their studies that the disadvantages of TV are not only about obesity but also reduce the children relationship with their siblings and friends, and reduce the development of their education.



Nakamuro, Makiko, et al. “Are Television and Video Games really Harmful for Kids.” Contemporary Economic Policy 33.1 (2015): 29-43.


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Are Television and Video Games Really Harmful for Kids

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