Children to be Banned from Mobile Phones?

Otonashi Meru 音無 芽留

“It’s undesirable for elementary schoolers to possess mobile phones”. With these sentiments, a group of LDP politicians has established the “Study Group for Ensuring the Protection of Elementary School Children from Mobile Phones”, and their stated objective is to introduce legislation before the Diet which will ban both elementary and middle school students from possessing mobile phones.

“Children are using mobile phones during lunch breaks and before they go to bed”, “With the exchange of mail the children are developing a form of dependence on their mobiles”, etc.

They seem also to wish to put a stop to this usage outside of school as well, although they have yet to advance anything concrete on this front. Ominously, we hear: “Parents and guardians have a limited consciousness of mobile phones”, and “They’re simply buying them mobiles”. Horror of horrors: “Many students are using mobiles in their breaks”.

I suppose the good legislators would prefer they use their breaks to sing a wholesome refrain of kimigayo.

PM Fukuda commented in a press conference: “It’s best to be worried over these reports of harmfulness”. He does not appear to have been referring to reports of the actions of politicians. Via Asahi.

I would think that Japanese school children have more to fear from the dubious lot attracted to teaching them, than any mere inanimate objects, though I suppose legislating against such would be politically unpalatable.

It seems that lately Japanese politicians have been unable to think of anything better to do than absurd protect the children style legislation, although the results have at least helped to pour ridicule upon them; witness the response to the clumsy attack on eroge, or the flabbergasted response from Internet companies upon hearing that they will be held responsible in the successful efforts to introduce mandatory censorship of the Internet for children.

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  • im from America and my school just regulates it by letting you have it.there would be a shitstorm if you couldnt have them on campus. but if a teacher sees it, they take it away.we have to pay a $20 fine to get it back from the office.

    i havent been to elementary school in a long time, but i doubt its a problem because most kids get cells when theyre about middle school to high school.

  • In indonesia, using cell phone at scholl (elementary school, junior high, and senior high) is forbiden. Some school might allow them to bring it but they must turn it off during lesson time.

    But i must admit, japanese politician really have nothing better to do with this matter XD

    • While I was studying I was witness to a historic change. When I started, they told us what we had to do before starting exams, like putting bags somewhere and what not, and then, later, they had added “turn off mobile phones”, presumably because some people had been called during exams or used them to cheat.

  • Useless.

    People don’t need laws to forbid children of using cellphones all the time, they need education and culture.

    It is a problem, yes. But cellphones can also be useful for security and other stuff.

    I think schools should have ways of restricting the usage of cellphone in class and in school grounds to emergency only, yes.

    But in the end, it all comes to educating those kids about it.

    It’s a real problem, since even adults usually don’t know when to use. I’ve seen lots of adults that behave as kids about cellphone usage.

    Making a law on this will hardly change anything.

  • Exiled_Gundam says:

    In my country (Malaysia), elementary to high schoolers are already prohibited from using mobile phone in school. The reason is similar too (minus “before they go to bed”) plus the phone can be distracting during the class session. But the use of mobile phones outside of school is allowed, to prevent crimes (child abducting etc) plus many of our phone booths damaged by vandalism

  • kuromitsu says:

    Actually, this is not as outrageous as it sounds. Of course claims like “zomg they use their phones in school” and “christ, they send mails before going to bed” are ridiculous, but mobile phone addiction is an existing problem. I personally know a 13 year-old girl who actually gets anxious if she’s in a place where she needs to turn off her phone, and spends whole nights chatting, and my little brother tells me there are other kids like her in his school. I’ve heard of other similar cases, most recently in Spain. And psychological aspects aside, these kids are running up massive phone bills, spend fortunes (of their parents’ money) on new phones, etc.

    Banning children outright from mobile phones is of course a rather extreme and stupid idea, but the problem exists and needs to be addressed in some way.

    • seems not to be stupid when you say children are spending tons of somebody elses money. in fact if they can’t support there own habit then it should be illegal for CHILDREN to use cell phones its not like they don’t have computers to use

    • I’d have to say that exactly the same sort of things could have been said about myself in school, except with respect to the Internet, so I’m a little cautious about condemning them – I’d take instead the position that they represent a new form of social organisation, which seems immoderate to those not so adapted.