The Numbers Game

Common Sense Media says

Fun look at statistics, social behavior has intense images.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Statistics can be used to improve and change the way we behave. Some of our behaviors can benefit us whereas others can benefit other people. 

Positive role models

Jake Porway is a data expert who believes that numbers data and data scientists are vital for changing social behavior. 


Experiments include staged muggings, ax throwing, and the chaining of volunteers, which occasionally lead to minor discomfort but no harm or pain. Some special effects and occasional prerecorded videos of true-life situations contain some frightening images, including people trying to help a child trapped in a fiery car crash. These are shown in an educational context, and no victims or blood are shown. 


Occasionally people are shown shirtless or in bikinis. One episode focuses on how people can appear more (or less) attractive. 

Not applicable
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Numbers Game is pretty mild but contains some violent images, including footage of fiery car crashes, special-effects-created scary faces, and moments that might be frightening for sensitive viewers (despite the fact that they're offered in an informative context). Occasionally people are shown in bathing suits or with bare chests, and occasional themes include, for example, how to become more attractive or desirable. The series might be a bit much for younger viewers, but older tweens and teens should be able to handle it.

What's the story?

On THE NUMBERS GAME, host and data scientist Jake Porway shows us what statistical science can reveal about people and our behavior. From using statistics to understand the likelihood of being caught in a lie to conducting experiments to illustrate the likelihood of a person helping someone in distress, Porway demonstrates how statistics can be used to understand, change, and improve our lives.

Is it any good?


The Numbers Game offers an interesting way to think about numbers and statistics and how they apply to our everyday lives. It also offers different ways of thinking about and understanding people's behaviors in social situations. Meanwhile, the various questions and interactive games in each episode give viewers the chance to test some of Porway's statements.

It's fun, but what makes it educational is the host's ability to demystify the function of statistics, breaking down the numbers-driven science into something both visual and understandable. It also demonstrates firsthand how statistics can be applied to understanding social behaviors to change them for the better. Most importantly, it shows how math and science play a major role in our lives, whether we realize it or not. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the field of statistics. Is it only about math and numbers? What are the different ways statistics are used to explain past, present, and future events? 

  • Do you think TV shows can help viewers understand science better? 

TV details

Cast:Jake Porway
Network:National Geographic Channel
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD

This review of The Numbers Game was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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