Kariya, a city in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, is hoping to lower the negative effects that increased smartphone use has on children by instituting a curfew on smartphones for children. The smartphone ban will be applicable to students in elementary and junior high school – they will not be allowed to use their cellular phones after 9:00 PM.
The new rule states that after 9:00 PM, children within the range prescribed will have to hand over their smartphones to their parents to refrain from using them. The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in Kariya, together with a local group consisting of teachers, social workers and police came up with this idea several months ago. They have since agreed starting last month and are requesting that parents and children adopt the rule in their homes starting in April. Fushitoshi Ohashi, acting as head of the group and the principal of Karigane Junior High School says that an increasing number of kids use their handsets until late at night to communicate with friends, possibly causing educational problems. “They feel they have to reply because their friends will ask why they aren’t responding if they don’t,” Ohashi said. When the new rule takes effect, “they can tell their friends that they couldn’t reply because it was after 9 PM,” he said.
The catch for this rule is that while the prefecture endorses it, it does not have any legal or binding power as it won’t be officially issued by the City Hall – each family will need to decide on its own whether to follow the rule or not. Ohashi said that there will be no legal punishment for students who don’t follow it. Most netizens have reacted rather negatively to this new rule, saying that Aichi Prefecture has no visible means of enforcing it. The intention behind the rule is good, they say, but the enforcement of it will only create more problems and questions, rather than results.
[via Japan Crush]