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back to article Japanese children warned off mobiles

Japanese children should be prevented from using their mobile phones for anything other than talking to protect them from harmful influences, according to an advisory panel to the government. The panel is already calling on schools and parents to take a much greater role in controlling the services children can access, reports …

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Gates Halo

Looking back

If I remember correctly the going rate for a japanesse schoolgirl was a new mobile

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Paris Hilton

Ban Data services on kid's phones?

Well that's just stupid. Think of all the good things that the 'net can bring schoolkids- information from the internet when they need it, the ability to call for help and know exactly where you are (with GPS and GPRS/3G, anyway), a camera to record interesting things to (Could also be useful if there was a cameraphone that saved straight to Bebo or Facebook or whatever), and all sorts.

And if you were going to limit them, surely you'd limit them to SMS rather than voice? That way the messages are stored (evidence in the event of bullying) and they keep the handset away from their face (which some believe can ba damaging to kids- especially primary school pupils). You can even have software on the phone/ISP to check for offensive language or Spam- stopping them from recieving that crap as well.

You could always limit them to SMS and a state-sanctioned "safe" educational WAP site.

Paris because she knows the trouble phones can cause...

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I agree with the PM

Why any child young enough that they shouldn't be unsupervised would need a phone is beyond me. My kid can have a phone when she can buy it herself...

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Silver badge

Nonsense

Children - especially below 15 - have no use knowing where I am. I'm at work, and they are at school.

Mobiles for any youngster below 15 is an excuse to waste money and worry uselessly, or to exert GPS surveillance on the kid.

A mobe only becomes useful when the sprog gets his first scooter. That is when he might actually need to make a phone call - when he runs out of gas, for instance.

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Paris Hilton

@Adam Foxton

With the Facebook application for Blackberries you can take a photo and immediatly tag and upload it to Facebook.

Paris because shes just as hot.

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Boffin

Internet bullying...

...something I've never quite understood. Back in my day (You dang kids - get off my lawn!) bullying meant somebody shoving you against the lockers or hauling off and slugging you in the gut. It was the threat of being pounded in various ways that made the bullying - not just somebody saying bad stuff about you.

I mean, how do you even anonymously bully someone over the internet?

* AnonBully punches you in the nose

* AnonBully yanks your underwear up

<AnonBully> Dork! Geek! Dweeb!

I don't see it.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Internet bullying...

That's a bit literal-minded of you, David. Bullying is mostly psychological, even when it does involve physicality. The internet just provides you with a different means of speaking to people, and it doesn't necessarily insulate vulnerable people from verbal attack.

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Alert

Re; Inet Bullying

Its not that literal Sarah, after all most bullying is used to create some kind of humiliation. Public physical attacks are humiliating but I cant see how people saying bad things about you could humiliate you. Hell I survived all through primary & secondary & college with whispering campaigns against me, never did me any harm as I knew it was a load of utter b*llshit by those who had nothing better in their sad little lives.

Kids would do well to have the lesson of 'sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me' drilled into them, rather than been allowed to grow up all soft and under-prepared for the brutality of real-life in the world & workplace.

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Happy

Security

As the parent of the 10-year old, I can empathise with those who feel that phones give some security, although that is tempered by the thought that he can't be mugged for it if he hasn't got one. Also, his developing brain is quite precious, and his school doesn't permit them (phones, not brains) on site. Children who take them have to hand them in at the door and collect them on their way out, which seems pretty sensible to me. If he's desperate to talk to his friends when they're not actually within earshot, we have a telephone in the house...

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Re: David & Sarah

Or, alternatively, kids these days are a bunch of wimps, in my day they used to toast us new bugs over a slo fire, etc etc etc.

The problem is not that bullying can't be verbal, the problem is the idea that the Internet adds to the problem one iota, which is nonsense. Kids have never had any problem being vicious in person, to each other's faces, without trying to be anonymous. Shutting down one of the mediums is a "let's look like we're doing something" waste of time.

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@David Wiernicki

You obviously were never bullied at school. It's *not* the physical stuff that's a real problem (after all, bodies heal sooner or later). The real issue is what emotional or mental issued are caused, name calling really *is* worse than being punched a lot of the time.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re; Inet Bullying

Ah, the old 'never did me any harm' bit. So of course by definition the same thing couldn't possibly affect anyone else, since you so thoroughly tested it and came out fine.

Pfft. And there's a difference between character-building and character-destroying. Unless you don't have a character to start with, in which case, y'know.

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(Written by Reg staff)

@Spleen

Oh yeah, don't think I agree with this kind of kneejerk foolery. If people want to be twatty to each other they'll find ways to do it, but then it's easier and headline-grabbinger to treat symptoms, not causes, etc etc etc forever.

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Anonymous Coward

HAHA

HAAAHAAAHAAAHAAAAHAAAAHAAAA

HAHAHAHA

I'm always amused to see governments trying to bolt stable doors long after the horses have done the off.

Everyone in Japan uses phones to cruise the internet, send email (they don't use texts becouse they're rubbish), update their Mixi's and show off their status(with dangling attachments).

This is increadibly prevaliant amongst Japanese girls who have developed their own language that makes leet/txt spk look like Perfect English. Which is a step beyond their emoji. and if you can't speak it then you arn't in.

Mobile phones are ingrained heavily in Japanese society.

But hey ho.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Internet bullying...

Actually, these sites, called 'gakko ura saito', are used not only to say nasty things about people online, but also to plan ways to bully people at school. This has led to an increase of students changing or dropping out of schools, and in some cases has led to the bullied students committing suicide. I could go on and on, but I'll sum it up by saying that it's not the quite the same kind of problem you find in the US or UK.

As for banning data, that would be about the same as banning phones altogether... The majority of people communicate through email on their phones over here....

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Anonymous Coward

Enjo kousai

I guess the government is trying to stop junior highschool girls to engage in enjo kousai (paid dating is the cute translation, prostitution is more correct). They finally acknowledged that enjo kousai is a problem and now they have to pretend they are going to do something about it.

Taking the phones away from the 13-16 year old will see a dramatic rise in suicides I guess. Most of these kids identify them selfs through their phones,

Mobile phones are the primary status symbol in Japan. That is why they have a new edition for every season. Just like fashion.

for more about enjo kousai you can have look at wikipedia here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enjo_kosai

and here is a good article with some personal notes from highschool girls

http://www.time.com/time/asia/features/sex/sexenjo.html

bullying in Japan would be easier to solve if teachers where actually allowed to say something bad to students. As it is now the parents have all the power in Japanese schools (Hey I pay taxes excuse, so I can tell you how to do your job). Teachers are totally powerless in Japan and some students have realized this and behave like complete utter twerps.

anonymous for obvious reasons

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Alien

@Inet Bullying

Lets keep it short:

For some reason it is easier to be mean on the web. So it isn't just another medium to mean in.

The "sticks and stone"-argument is rubbish. Even with a physcial attack it is the mental trauma that usually is the biggest problem. We are social creatures afterall. Our entire life we adapt and try to fit in(not blend in, it is a big difference).

How can it be the government's job to enforce which mobile phones a kid should be allowed to carry? We have to leave something to parents.

Alien 'cause E.T. wanted to call home but the kid didn't have a phone he could borrow.

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Dead Vulture

Gimme a break...

This will only lead to

"WARNING MAY BE UNSAFE TO EAT"

Stickers on all mobiles

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Coat

Why the F**K do they need a mobile phone?

Correct me if i'm wrong, but what the F**k does a child need a mobile phone for anyway? How many business meetings do they need to check in their calendars? How many people do they need to ring and 'do business' with? Just how important is it that they are able to ring their mate (who happens to be the same age as them, and also fast approaching puberty) at that precise moment?

At the parents of young children with a mobile phone......

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?????

Little johnny has a mobile phone, so that he feels safe when he is out and about????..... Roughly translated as Little Johnny is an obnoxcious little ba****d and about as trustworthy as a sack of SH**, and to buy his love, and also to enable me to keep an eye on him, I have bought him the latest phone.

All you have done, is give the little git another target on his back (the one which states I have a Mega Amazing mobile phone, please steal it from me), and yet another medium for anoying people in the street as he walks down it with the MP3 player on the "phone(?)" on full volume playing his latest dowloaded (read - Leeched) music tracks.

PLUS, little johnny has no concept of the cost of things, and you then end up with a £500 bill from him ringing all his mates, and using the woefully small amount of minutes and texts you thought he would need for the month in the first 60 mintues.

Back to Bullying, a lot of this could be addressed by the teachers being given proper powers to punish unruly children. Having seen bullying happen, if the penalties for it were greater for the "youth/s" doing it, then if they didn't think twice before doing it in the first place, then they might think twice about doing it again....

So there you go, my rant is over, kids dont need mobile phones, we should just fit them with ID tracking chips at birth. That way we know where they are at all times, and there is no need for them to carry a mobile phone for their security.

Mines the tinfoil one with matching hat, and flame retardent coating....

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Thumb Up

What the...?

I've had a cell phone since about 1998 or so, and I've never used it to do anything other than make phone calls and occasionally take a picture. I tried texting once - it was such a pain that it seemed easier to just make a call.

I don't really see why ANYONE needs a cellphone other than to make calls and use it for a camera sometimes. I sit in front of a computer all day, so I can send as much email as I want that way. To me a mobile phone is really just a mobile phone, and there's no reason my son needs to walk around carrying a phone. Unless he wants to start taking the grocery orders from my wife instead of me. But he can't even leave school on his own yet.

I say go, Japan!

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@David Wiernicki

We're coming to get you.

Not now, but soon.

Just keep watching over your shoulder...

... one day we'll be there...

... better start running...!

*THAT* is the sort of thing that, combined with physical harassment, is what cyber-bullying can be like.

Posted anonymously, of course...

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Paris Hilton

Heh...

considering the fact that Japan has a lot more open culture about sexuality, it stands to reason that parents over here are more uptight. If parents in the US knew what children in Japan are exposed to regularly, they would have a "what-what?-WHAT!!?" moment like Kyle's mom in a South Park episode and try to ban Japan itself.

But this argument is pointless, anyway. In about 20-30 years, when doctors finally perfect the Direct Neural Interface jack (RE: William Gibson's book Neuromancer), people will have permanently turned-on phones in their heads. This will result in virtual telepathy and a hive mind that knows exactly what every person in the hive mind is like in bed. And on tables. And in bathroom stalls. And in XXX videos featuring incestuous bestial necrophiliacs.

On second thought, maybe that isn't a good idea. BAN HEADCELLS NOW!!!

Paris, because she'd be the first one to volunteer for a headcell.

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Thumb Down

Re: Internet bullying...

Actually, some of this "cyber-bullying" can be truly damaging, even more than actual bullying. One highschool girl got "cyberbullied" or whatever in her last semester; her ex-boyfriend sent a spoofed e-mail posing as her, saying "my phone is X, I like to f**k on the first date" and adding her *actual* nude photos. To the entire school. Of course, he could've easily spread the photos on the whole school by himself (which wouldn't require the Internet) but it was easier, and more far-reaching to do it through the internet.

At least with old-school bullying, you can solve it the old-fashioned way: fight back and beat the **** out of the bully 'till he learns not to mess with you again.

As for voice-only phones ... given the 5-to-1 value of SMS-voice costs, I tend to disagree with that. Much cheaper to text than to actually call and spend 10x to convey something as simple as "Going out, meet you in Tacubaya Sta. 8 o'clock sharp. Kisses!" or mere informative stuff like "I've just sent you the package" or whatever.

Mobiles for kids - As soon as your kid starts wandering solo, that's the right time to give him a mobile. That would be sometime around age 12, right after entering secondary school. I got my first mobile at age 15, but that was because *no one in the family had one before* except my dad. My sister got hers when she was 13.

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Boffin

I'm on the Bee side

A word on the subject of Little Dears.

Any fool with eyes and access to Internet knows just how vindictive teenagers can be using their new-found forum. Cloaked in anonymity, they will happily commit the virtual ned equivalent of a street beating, piling blow after virtual blow upon the hapless and often vulnerable individual held fast in their greedy clutches.

Youngsters! Do you remember thinking of anything other than yourself when you were that age? A curse for sure; a curse that enveloped you in your own, emotion-charged world of the constantly scrutinised self-image; yet also left you with little empathy for others. You framed the World against the context of yourself, and there was nothing outwith (don't tell me you listened to your parents). Is it any wonder youngsters put the boot in online?

The Japanese are to be applauded for actually doing something. Brownian Britain shows little motion, leaving children to fend for themselves -- on corporate supplied media, whose agenda is /not/ their well-being, nor yours. We should not be surprised at the results.

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Stop

Re: Why the F**K do they need a mobile phone?

Damn, you have a shitty view of ALL kids, don't you?

Well, this may have been just shy of 2 decades ago, but I can still remember turning 13, and a cell phone would have been really useful. I was an active kid, and I rode my mountain bike all over creation, including going miles out of town. Let me tell you, pushing a bike to the nearest phone when it's broken down worse than your tiny little roadside repair kit can handle is not only harrowing, it's dangerous.

I also ran on the track and cross country teams, and to keep in training in the off season, I RAN all over creation. I never had a problem on those runs, but considering that I did occasionally have twisted ankles and the like in races, it was a possibility.

As time went on, my parents didn't much mind me going out for as long as I liked (I was a good kid with no history of trouble), but they wanted me to check in every so often. It got to the point where getting back to a phone was a major time drain in my day.

Finally, I did odd jobs, including mowing lawns (big old country lawns), for money. A cell phone would have been a nice insurance policy against a moderate injury when I was out of yelling range of anyone.

At the time, a phone was WAY too expensive to consider as an option for a kid, and even if it was affordable, too large and bulky. Now a days, though, I wouldn't hesitate to give a child who was half as active as I was a phone, and if they were responsible with it, even pay for a small amount of their personal use. In fact, the way things are going, I'd consider it for any child that was wandering out on their own.

Not every kid is a lazy chav, and you look like a fool when you treat them all that way.

-Daniel

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Linux

Teenage Idiots

Mobiles have become such a problem these days. I actually see my friends SMSing in the middle of class and I'm thinking "WTF? Who have you got to talk to that can't wait 75 minutes?"

A cop came to school to teach us how we shouldn't use them to bully people. And he also told us that when he asked a group of students that if they were to lose their phone or leg, 90% would much rather hold onto the phone.

I didn't get a mobile phone 'til this year, and that was because I needed to stay in contact for an excursion. I can't see the addiction in it.

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Thumb Up

my kids

have a children's model phone. It has a built in alarm and GPS that at the flick of the emergency switch sounds a loud alarm and simultaneously calls my wife and shows her a map of where the phone is located. Being a kids phone, it is limited in what else it will do.

Of course these features are rarely needed in japan, but it means they can go to football training and kumon by themselves, enjoying the kind of freedom that I had as a boy, but which is sadly lacking from today's world.

About a year ago there was a case of a pervert chasing a kid in a public toilet. Her quick thinking friend snapped him on her mobile and then ran to police station. They used the photo to track down the bastard.

Mobiles are here to stay. There's no going back. Good on the Japanese for thinking about limiting the harm.

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Anonymous Coward

phone number

A kid would have to be a thicko to give their phone number to a bully.

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I remember the first time

I caught an 11year old showing all his mates a bunch of masked nasties cutting someones head off on his mobile. Most kids are responsible enough not to get caught doing stuff they know they shouldn't. I know I was.

Happy Slapping happens here and is just another form of bullying. Some kids are bullies, most ain't. I remember someon I worked with telling everyone in the office that the new temp was a person that they'd bullied at school as though this was something to be proud of. I wasn't the only one disgusted but was the only one who said something. Thankfully most kids don't bully.

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