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Osaka mayor wants to legally control when kids can and can’t use smartphones in their own home

29 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

As the mayor of Osaka, a city of more than 2.6 million residents, Ichiro Matsui has a lot of people to look out for. But during a press conference at city hall on Jan 15, it was the children he was thinking of.

Specifically, Matsui is concerned about kids who are aren’t attending their classes. Truancy is a complicated problem, and not always a matter of plain laziness or lack of gumption on youngsters’ part. Apathetic teachers, impractical lesson plan that fail to engage young minds, and bullying by classmates can all convince kids that going to school is the last thing they want to do that day. During the press conference, though, Matsui said that he thinks more kids would attend class if the law forced them to get off their smartphones.

“What if we were to enact laws barring children from using smartphones past a certain time at night, or other ordinances?” Matsui mused. The 55-year-old politician also said that he’s instructed the Osaka Municipal Board of Education to investigate the potential effectiveness time-based bans and other smartphone-use restrictions would have on boosting class attendance.

Matsui’s singling out of smartphones comes only a few days after legislators in Kagawa’s Prefectural Assembly unveiled their draft of a new law that would prohibit elementary, middle, and high school students from playing video games for more than one hour on weekdays and more than 90 minutes on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. A key difference though is that while video games are first and foremost an entertainment medium, smartphones, by providing access to the Internet’s vast wealth of respected periodicals, scholarly literature, and instructional videos, are arguably as much a learning tool as a toy.

Ostensibly a ban would also prohibit young people from talking or listening to music on their smartphones, but would allow them to do such activities with flip phones or MP3 players.

The mayor didn’t elaborate on exactly how he felt smartphone use was contributing to truancy, but his concern about the devices being used at night suggests he thinks that kids are ditching school because they’re sleepy. That seems like an unlikely scenario, though, considering they’d either have to be snoozing at home, with their parents’ blessing, or waking up, heading out the door, and finding somewhere else to catch some Z’s instead of going to school.

Matsui did recognize, however, that enforcing a ban, as well as handing down criminal penalties to offenders (either the children themselves or their parents), would be difficult. “It would likely be an ideological law, but it is probably important for us to enact such an ordinance,” he asserted.

Incidentally, Matsui’s being born in 1964 means that he was around for the cries that society was on the brink of ruin because of such wicked forms of entertainment as rock music, action movies, and video games, but maybe he thinks we were just lucky enough to dodge a bullet each of those times.

Source: The Sankei News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- “We wasted so much time in English class” — Japanese Twitter user points out major teaching flaw

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

-- Tokyo public schools will stop forcing students with non-black hair to dye it, official promises

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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The guy basically said "what if", which means he's trying to figure out a way to get kids off of their smart phones. It does not mean that he was totally serious.... he's probably just frustrated with this problem because it has become a pretty big issue. But when you really come down to it.... in general, it is the parent's that control things and set examples. The Mayor needs to look at better ways to educate parents. Which is, of course, difficult, because most Japanese families now have both parents working allowing kids more unsupervised time.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Authority belongs with the parents and not the government.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

Good luck to any government official that tried implementing such a ridiculous law in my home.

How long my girls get to spend on their phones and video games will depend on what my wife and I decide.

If they slack off at school and their grades go down. Then we shall restrict their time on these devices. Likewise if they are excelling at school than we shall reward them.

That decision though isn't for an outsider to make. The final say on my daughters in their own home will always be left to their father and mother.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

What a waste of time, how do you know a kid is using a phone? You going to have phone police ? You going to arrest the kid or parent?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

HTF do you propose enforcing such a ridiculous proposal? Will you post a policeman to stand over every child with a smartphone With mandatory room and board provided by the family?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

HTF do you propose enforcing such a ridiculous proposal? Will you post a policeman to stand over every child with a smartphone With mandatory room and board provided by the family?

exactly. This guy is a muppet. Plain and simple.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Typical overreach. They start off as public servants and then start to believe they are the father figure for all their constituents - even though it's their constituents who pay their salary.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Bad ideas seem to spread faster than good ones. A US State Senator from Vermont had a similar idea.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I bet a great deal of truant students are high functioning autistic children. Most aren't getting any help at schools and mental health care is seriously lacking in this country. The city that I work for the special needs teachers have almost zero training in special needs. Most of the teachers needs teachers are either near retirement or deemed not worthy enough to teach and guide a normal homeroom class. The special needs aids that tag along autistic students that need help in normal class, they too have no training in special needs. Most are former teachers that quit early in the teaching career to raise a family

Truancy is not taking seriously in this country. Truants regularly can graduate till the next grade without going to school. Students understand very quickly that you don't have to do anything or even show up and you will still go on to the next grade. Teachers love that students that cause more work for them are staying at home. Schools also benifit from having truant students because they will have a bigger budget with less students.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

“What if we were to enact laws barring children from using smartphones past a certain time at night, or other ordinances?” Matsui mused.

LOL...yeah, ok...good luck.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

What if they tried accepting and promoting diversity. Simply allowing the students to express their gender and sexual identity would go a long way towards making the schools more inviting.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Yeah sure.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I know he's just musing with the idea, but this is so impractical. Would the government be relying on the parents to enforce the law? If they're not parenting properly now, I don't think a law would change that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My wifi shuts out my kids' devices from 9pm. It's pretty easy to set up with a TP-Link router.

You can also group devices and set total time limits for each group.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Just pass a law stipulating children have to be a certain age to have a smartphone, i'd be in agreement with that, they mush kids brains and their eyes.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Whilst I can understand the frustration older people are feeling about the smartphone addiction that has overrun our society (kids and adults), governments need to stick to what we elect them to do and leave the social engineering alone. What he is talking about is the private responsibility of parents and also disrespects children’s own human rights which someone should remind him that they do have.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Why is he only targeting smartphone? How about gaming consoles like PlayStation and Switch? There are PCs and tablets, too. Binge watching DVDs, streaming services like Netflix can be problematic as well. U should promote parents educating their children on tech addiction. Not just making laws on restricting one device.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Next they’ll be making laws about how late parents can keep their children out at night...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yeah...no, playing on their phones at night and being sleepy the next day probably isn't even in the top 10 most common reasons as to why chronic truants aren't going to school

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Apathetic teachers, impractical lesson plan that fail to engage young minds, and bullying by classmates can all convince kids that going to school is the last thing they want to do that day. 

Think that might be the problem rather games.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

He should keep your stupid ideas to yourself... absolutely ridiculous. Or go join the US Democratic party, they love idiots like him.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

No doubt Matsui is going to follow this with a law seeking to change the legal age of voting back to 20 so no "children" can vote. Maybe Matsui should also ban the sales of televisions, since a lot of kids watch that while staying home from school, too. Nah. Matsui is such a windbag.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps the Osaka mayor needs to get out of his office and just what is actually going on the society. It's not just children who are addicted to their phones and video games. He needs to jump on a busy train and that nearly everybody is addicted to playing mind-numbingly pointless games on their phones. Yeah, limit the amount of hours a kid can spend on their phones while their mother is addicted to Candy Crush and playing it 8-10 hours every day.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yet another idiotic proposal from the incompetent Ishin no Kai.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

kohakuebisuToday  11:12 am JST

My wifi shuts out my kids' devices from 9pm. It's pretty easy to set up with a TP-Link router.

You can also group devices and set total time limits for each group.

Good idea. Unless the Mayor supplies my kids and pays for my kids' smartphone, he has no business with them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good luck... he's up against Apple, and Apple will always Win.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This was just on the news and it's not just some politician saying "what if" - they are seriously considering making this legislation.

Which is an intrusion on privacy and freedom.

It's stupid and unjust.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Leave it the parents - well the good ones. at least.

My wifi shuts out my kids' devices from 9pm. It's pretty easy to set up with a TP-Link router.

You can also group devices and set total time limits for each group.

Much much better than that is Google family link (Android and ios) and is great service that give parents complete control over their children's devices: daily time limits, apps, purchases, location sharing - everything. My son hates it, but hes crazy if he thinks he getting the keys to an unlimited "vehicle". A 9pm wifi cut off only is a buffet with a closing time.

Family link. It's better than apples screen time. Amazon also have service called freetime

Smart devices have become an important tool, but children and teenagers need control and parameters for use. After 8 months of it he has got very proficient at rationing his allocated time on his phone.

Now if only Nintendo switch had the same controls....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Encouraging to see that Osaka has successfully solved all of its pressing socio-economic and crime problems and that the government is able to turn its attention to the truly important task of regulating individual behaviour in the home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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