February 26, 2009

Japanese Teens’ Cell Phone Use Out of Control

A recent survey found that cell phones are taking over the lives of many Japanese teens.

According to the education ministry survey, about 46 percent of students aged 13 to 14 and about 96 percent of students aged 16 to 17 carry a cell phone with them. Additionally, one in four children aged 11 to 12 has one.

Students say they use their mobile devices for a wide variety of applications. They can listen to music, read books, browse the Web, and chat with friends.

According to the survey of more than 10,000 children, researchers found that one in five middle school students sends or receives 50 or more emails on their phone each day.

Furthermore, seven percent of these students admitted to sending more than 100 emails each day. Their phone use time often takes over during meals, baths and during class.

One quarter of the middle school students use a mobile during mealtimes while 10 percent use them when in the bath. Among the high school students, 18 percent use their phones during class, according to the survey.

"Some children are emailing massively," said education ministry official Hiroyuki Mantani.

"Some parents are not fully aware of the dangers," he said.

Experts warn that children may be revealing too much information about themselves on their Web profiles, which make them easy targets for Internet predators.

In the US, teens with cell phones send an average of 2,272 text messages each month. Nationally, more than 75 billion messages are sent each month, most of which are sent by those between the ages of 13 and 17, according to the Nielsen Co.