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Kagawa politicians want to set daily limit on how much time kids can spend playing video games

17 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Members of a special committee of the Kagawa Prefectural Assembly held a meeting on Jan 10. The legislators gathered to formally announce their draft of the newest piece of codified law they believe their citizens need: a government-set limit on the amount of time kids are legally allowed to spend playing video games.

The proposed ordinance would cap the amount of time children high-school age or younger can play games each day, and thus be applicable to all residents of the prefecture 17 or younger, as well as those who won’t graduate until after they turn 18. Under the law, children would be allowed to play video games for only one hour a day on weekdays, and no more than 90 minutes on weekends and holidays. The committee cites a need for government countermeasures against video game and internet addiction as the driving force behind its proposal.

Japan has an unusual love/hate relationship with video games. On one hand, they’re a high-profile, much-loved part of the entertainment landscape, with Tokyo boasting Final Fantasy restaurants and a brand-new Nintendo specialty shop in showcase neighborhood Shibuya. Globally successful video game companies are so respected that when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympics, as part of the passing of the baton to the 2020 Tokyo Games, he did so while cosplaying as Super Mario.

▼ Nintendo Tokyo, the company’s specialty shop in Shibuya

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But on the other hand, video gaming has, for decades, been one of the primary things Japanese parents fret are threatening to ruin their children’s futures. One of the most common concerns PTA groups voice is that kids with too much free time will waste it in arcades, and they’re not worried about kids getting into fights, being abducted, or sucking down second-hand smoke while they’re there, but instead have a nebulous but certain impression that spending time jiggling a joystick and slapping buttons will turn young minds to mush.

In addition to limiting how much time children can spend playing video games each day, the proposed ordinance also sets a limit on when kids are allowed to play video games. High school kids have to put down their controllers by 10 p.m., while younger kids have to stop playing by 9.

The proposal makes no mention of what kids are supposed to do instead of playing games, but zoning out on the couch with a fluffy rom-com movie, eating a bag of potato chips while watching professional sports on TV, or leafing through celebrity gossip magazines, are all options unrestricted by the ordinance, and thus apparently considered a more constructive use of children’s free time.

If ratified, the proposal would be the first such ban in Japan. While there are currently no penalties attached to kids going over the daily limits, the committee says it is now gathering public opinion and may adjust the proposal before it is introduced at the assembly’s regular plenary session next month.

Source: NHK News Web via Otakomu

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Research from Tohoku University claims video games impair brain development in children

-- Japanese mom finds diabolically clever way to crack down on son’s excessive video gaming

-- Japanese sixth-grader calls out smartphone-loving parents over anti-video game lectures

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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Goodluck with that. The fact that people have monetized it so well for people that are playing and streaming combined with the fact that countries now view it as a sport, it will be harder than ever to get children to put down video games.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@JJ well said. I am happy i have a daughter and not a son on this point even though i do know girls game as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

well said JJ, I could not have said it better myself. Video games are meant to be like that and people trying to prevent that is like forcing smokers to stop smoking. It can be done, but it will take time

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would rather my son play Minecraft than watch Japanese tv and assume everything on it is normal.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I'd rather have my kids playing video games than sitting around mindlessly watching TV. Games can teach you all sorts of things, like critical thinking and time management. They're also a great way to bond with someone, especially one's own kids. I grew up with games, I'm still playing myself, and I really don't think the government has ANY business putting their nose in people's homes.

Here's just one article of many that touches on this topic:

https://www.manhattandigest.com/2017/06/22/video-games-improve-skills/

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Only kids? Many adults play games for longer than kids. It would be very inter4sting to know how they intend to enforce such a law.

And, it should not be a daily limit. It should be a weekly limit. I think 4-6 hours a week would be sufficient would be sufficient for a 'normal' person to play Candy Crush or one of the other mind-numbingly superfluous video games.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Do you seriously need the government to enforce such laws to keep your kids from playing games too much? Can't do that yourself, as their parent?

How ridiculous of an idea.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What is this the 80s again? Next they're going to revive the argument to ban violent videogames.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Games like mine craft are fantastic for exercising the imagination and problem solving. More nonsense from the dinosaurs in office

4 ( +5 / -1 )

But on the other hand, video gaming has, for decades, been one of the primary things Japanese parents fret are threatening to ruin their children’s futures

Parenting is hard.... apparently.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stupid government interference. Difficult to monitor, difficult to enforce. Issue parental guideline but not anything else.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Insidious government encroachment into our daily lives AGAIN. Keep vigilant, People.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How on earth would they enforce this? As a younger brother, I would have loved to have a law like this when I was little. "Let me have a turn or I'll tell the police how much time you've spent gaming."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Members of a special committee of the Kagawa Prefectural Assembly held a meeting on Jan 10 to formally announce their draft of the newest piece of codified law they believe their citizens need: a government-set limit on the amount of time kids are legally allowed to spend playing video games.

Members.....as in plural, held a meeting on this? People, publicly funded officials actually wasted time on such a mundane non issue?

Here's an idea. Let kids be kids. Let them enjoy their childhood. Let them get bored of things on their own, organically.

How about worrying about other things, like Kagawa officials that like to waste time and accomplish nothing.

Or better yet, start to eliminate the all mighty center test and worthless university exams first. Maybe then the children won't have mushy brains due to constant test information shoved down their throats day in and day out. Maybe they can learn useful skills instead. Like having common sense or a sense of responsibility.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And how will this be enforced? Parents turning their children in? Warrants to search house and check computer logs?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They have not authority over this. What a ridiculous waste of time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shogun:

Unfortunately prefectual governments have no authority over the center test. They can only choose where the location of the test. The Japanese system gives little power to the local governments. That's why they do wasteful stuff like this. Their only real job is land and street management and building useless buildings and statues, making sure they use all of their budget so Tokyo doesn't cut it the next year.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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