Japanese Government Worried about Children’s Cellphone Use

The Japanese government is so concerned that children are spending too much time with Internet-linking cell phones that it is warning parents and schools to limit their use. Most mobile phones in Japan are 3G, which allows high-speed Internet access.

Masaharu Kuba, a government official overseeing the new initiative, said elementary and junior high school students spend long hours exchanging mobile e-mails and suffer other negative effects from mobile phone overuse. Some students have even been victims of cyberspace crimes.

“Japanese parents are giving cell phones to their children without giving it enough thought,” he said. “In Japan, cell phones have become an expensive toy.”

One fad among school aged children in Japan is “the 30 minute rule.” If a child doesn’t respond to an e-mail within 30 minutes, that child becomes the target for teasing by others.

An education reform panel is asking cell phone manufactures to develop a child friendly device. Such a phone would only allow voice communication and GPS tracking, to help further a child’s safety.