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In the modern age, we have a plethora of entertainment options right at our fingertips. Many people enjoy different entertainment at different times. Others may have preferences as to what their favorite things to do for leisure are. What defines “better” with these sorts of topics can be quite subjective.

However, our next article will attempt to give some insights into some of the key differences between playing video games or watching televisual media.

Specifically, we will look at what statistics might say about group preferences in these arenas, what possible cognitive benefits or drawbacks there might be to each one, and some of the mixed preconceptions people might have about games and TV.

Depositphotos_274780456_S Watching TV, remote focused with tv blurred

Why Do Parents Think TV Is Better Than Video Games?

You don’t have to be a parent to know that it’s common to place certain limits on how long children can play video games for. Indeed, it is possible that helping children or teens to broaden their activities and structure them in ways that allow them to experience different mediums each day can be quite helpful.

There’s nothing wrong with setting good limits and boundaries here. However, there can be some prevailing assumptions about video games in particular that might not always be true for every game or every kid.

While it is hard to pin down a specific reason, some parents might think TV is better or video games are worse, it probably comes down to how individual people have interacted with both mediums. Video games have been around for decades now, but they are still seen as relatively new things by some older parents. Television had already been around for a few decades by the time the earliest version of video games came on the scene.

Compounding this issue is the fact that some people might distinguish between the modern, ultra-HD video games we’ve had for a few years and the simpler, older games that preceded them.

Because video games are seen as “new” and some parents have had less exposure to them, they might see them as somehow worse than television. It is worth noting that many people who are parents themselves also enjoy video games today, and they might be old enough to remember some of the first video or arcade games of decades past.

Television or films are both more staples within society, and most parents have had exposure to them since they were kids themselves. In this way, it is easier for them to see the entertainment value of TV over video games.

Is Gaming Better for Kids Than Watching TV?

This is a question that will be different for each person, and it can depend on many factors. Although we can look into it, it’s important to remember that both mediums can have some value with the development of kids and things they can learn.

Gaming can be a more interactive and engaging experience than TV. This doesn’t make TV worse, but it does mean that kids might get more cerebral engagement from video games. In gaming, you will typically have to control certain characters, go on different quests, complete various objectives, and make important decisions that can affect the course of the story the developers wrote.

All of this requires some measure of concentration and involvement by the person playing the game. While there is such a thing as idle games these days, even they will require a minimum amount of investment in order to play or complete them.

Additionally, just as many people grew up with various educational programs on TV, many of today’s games are focused on education and learning. The key points of some games are to teach kid’s various skills or real-world concepts in fun ways. They can then practice these concepts and apply them to their lives outside of video games.

This is particularly true for younger kids and games aimed at audiences in the early stages of learning. However, even games for older kids can have more complex elements of story cohesion and things of that nature as part of the overall makeup.

On balance, playing video games will lead to greater personal interactions with the medium, and this can lead to better focus or mental engagement. Not that it will happen every time, and whether it is better can still be a subjective question. Some modern television also encourages more viewer interaction when appropriate.

Depositphotos_334599462_S Modern gamepad and gaming mouse

Is Playing Video Games Better Than Watching Movies?

This question is like the one posed about TV, and the answer will still have some degree of subjectivity attached to it. You could make a case that playing video games is better simply for the engagement, motor function, and coordination that the activity develops.

In some ways, you might even be able to point to observable data on how such things can improve over the course of one’s entertainment with a reasonable amount of time spent on playing video games. Players are often more physically engaged in most video games even if they’re enjoying them from their couch, for example.

However, this question and its answer are still largely dependent on preferences. Some people will enjoy the passive activity of having a good story told to them, be it for educational or pure entertainment value. It is also worth noting that, even in such cases, a film viewer needs to develop good active listening skills and maintain some focus in order to get the most out of the story being told.

While this isn’t exactly the same level of engagement as a video game, it is easy to see why films are such a common preference as go to entertainment for many people.

It’s also true that in the modern era of film, movies can sometimes merge with video game elements to become interactive. Although rare, some films are interactive, and they require viewers to use smartphones or other devices to move the plot of along different paths that they are able to choose.

Similarly, many video games are almost cinematic experiences that focus just as much on the nature of the story as they do the gameplay. Both forms of entertainment have come to recognize the value in each other. They each borrow the best elements from the other in order to create one immersive, memorable experience for the viewer, the player, or a new audience that gets to be a hybrid of both.

Do More Kids Play Video Games or Watch TV?

It’s difficult to pin down whether there is a larger group of kids playing video games or watching TV. Because television is a relatively ubiquitous activity that can range from learning to entertainment, it might make sense to say that more children watch TV.

However, many games are also educational besides having high entertainment value. Television can be a somewhat more passive activity, and gaming usually requires some dedicated hardware and electronics besides a screen. The exception here seems to be mobile games that you could play on your phone, a device that is also handy for watching videos.

However, it’s also true that many kids do both, but the rates at which they enjoy each activity can vary. With almost 40 percent of kids owning a smartphone, it is safe to say that many of them can both enjoy videos and mobile games with ease.

Many of the games available for mobile platforms also have full or nearly full functionality while remaining free to play as much as you want, further increasing their value and the likelihood that kids will enjoy them.

There are many factors that could give us different numbers with the prevalence of both television and video games as leisure activities for kids. However, we can say that kids in their teen years might spend a total of 9 hours with their screens daily.

This time would include a bit of everything, from watching traditional television, to playing games, to doing other activities.

Some kids may prefer one over the other, but many will switch between both things in order to have different experiences with media across different platforms.

Both games and TV media are also ways that different peer groups can interact with each other or find common ground, and these things can also influence how many kids enjoy each activity and the standard length of time they engage in them.


Television and film have both been around longer than video games. However, video games got their start much earlier in popular culture than some people might realize. Film and TV have done a great job of thrilling audiences for many decades, but video games have become an entertainment staple of modern culture as well.

With their ability to engage players while crafting excellent stories that are just as authentic as some you can see in the cinema, we could make arguments that video games are the better version of entertainment here.

However, it is also clear that many kids like to switch up their leisurely media options to enjoy a bit of everything.