Are Television and Video Games Really Harmful for Kids? Empirical evidence from the Longitudinal Survey of Babies in the 21st Century

Author Name NAKAMURO Makiko (Keio University) / INUI Tomohiko (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / SENOH Wataru (National Institute for Educational Policy Research) / HIROMATSU Takeshi (Institute of Information Security)
Creation Date/NO. May 2013 13-E-046
Research Project Research on Measuring Productivity in the Service Industries and Identifying the Driving Factors for Productivity Growth
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Are watching television and playing video games really harmful for children's development? This is a very intriguing question for both parents and policy circles, although measuring the rigorous effects is difficult due to data and methodological limitations. By making use of a unique longitudinal dataset with detailed information on children's development and health, we examine the effect of hours of television watched or of video games played on school-aged children's problem behavior, positive orientation to school, and obesity. The results drawn from the fixed and random effects models while controlling for the time-invariant unobserved omitted variables in this paper suggest that the answer to the question is yes and that the negative effect would be dramatically increased by an excessive amount of exposure to television or video games. However, the magnitude of the effect is small enough to be negligible. The results are robust to within twin fixed effects.

Published: Makiko Nakamuro, Tomohiko Inui, Wataru Senoh, Takeshi Hiromatsu, 2015. "Are Television and Video Games Really Harmful for Kids?" Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 33(1), pp. 29-43.