No smartphones after 10pm for Japanese teens

The Board of Education in Kasuga, Japan, has advised that secondary school kids, of 13-15 years of age, should stop using smartphones after 10pm.

In association with local schools and parent-teacher groups, the board is urging students to hand their phones over to their parents between 10pm and 6am.

A 2013 survey conducted by the country's cabinet office revealed that 52 per cent of (what Americans would call) junior high school students in Japan owned a mobile phone, with nearly half of these toting a smartphone – quite an increase on the figure three years prior of 2.6 per cent.

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The Japanese government lists uninintended use of pay sites, leaks of private information and cyberbullying as some of the risks facing young internet users, whose use of the web is difficult to supervise due to ubiquitous access.

No particular incident has been highlighted by the Kasuga Board of Education, the initiative having come from PTA leaders' fears about smartphone use by teenagers.

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The board has drawn up posters that ask students to put down their smartphones late at night, and these have been sent to six local schools in Kasuga.

The city of Kariya in Aichi Prefecture launched a similar campaign in April, but with an earlier time of 9pm as the cut off.

One can imagine the benefits for students: more sleep, better concentration span, and more time used for educational activities, such as reading - and some youngsters may agree with the initiative. Ultimately though, from being an MSN-mad teenager myself, I think parents will have to confiscate their kids' beloved phones to get them to comply.

What are your thoughts? A worthy move, or is this a case of backward-thinking schools imposing themselves on youngsters' home lives? Hint: this is what the comment box is for.

Image: Adam Chamness, Flickr