A number and increasing cases of bullying have been reported using the mobile app Line among students. Although most forms of bullying are done by hurling insults and accusations at a person, using the smartphone app has given bullies a new way to be abusive. By excluding a person in a group created in Line, that person is left out not just in the virtual world, but also in real life.
When Line is used as a communication tool among school club members, those who don’t use the application are sometimes left uninformed about club activities. Students can intentionally remove others [they don’t like] from their Line group,” said Yoko Hasegawa, a cyber bullying consultant who also holds school etiquette seminars in Shimane Prefecture. She also said that since last winter, students and parents seeking consultations have significantly increased. It was only in November 2012 when LINE Corp. began modifying their system by showing who deleted who from a group created in the app. However, the consultant mentioned that there is lack of information on how to properly use LINE, on the part of parents and schools. “Elementary school students are now using Line without even understanding how the system works. Proper education on information morals is necessary.”
Masashi Yasukawa, director of an online counseling organization also testified to the increasing consultation requests because of bullying on LINE since last year. He believes that these implies crisis among the youth. “We received requests for such consultations once or twice a month last year, but the number has increased by 10 about times in a year,” the counselor-director said.