An article from the March 10 Tokushima Newspaper about the usage of mobile phones in Tokushima schools:
In the first ever survey of mobile phone usage in schools across Tokushima Prefecture, it was found that one in six students send over 50 emails a day, and one in seven students spend more than five hours a day making phone calls and using the internet on their mobile phones. In response to this situation, the Tokushima Prefectural Board of Education declared that “it is important to draw up rules regarding the use of mobile phones” and further educate students and guardians on the situation.
Held in December 2008, the survey targeted second year students in six junior high schools and six senior high schools. Results showed that 59.8% of junior high school students and 95.2% of senior high schools students were in possession of mobile phones.
According to the results, 16.5% of junior high school students and 14.8% of senior high school students send over 50 emails a day, and the number of students sending over 100 emails a day was 5.9% for junior high school and 5.2% for senior high school.
Furthermore, students spending more than five hours a day making phone calls and using the internet came to 13.6% for junior high school, and 14.5% for senior high school. A total of 66.8% of junior high school respondents and 77.7% of senior high school respondents said they would be at a loss without their mobile phones, clearly showing how dependant they have become on the presence of their mobile phones.
Also, 26.9% of junior high schools students and 24.7% of senior high school students reported that they felt uneasy if they didn’t immediately receive a reply on their phones.
“I’m on the phone straight after my club activities and right up until I go to sleep. I feel really sad if I don’t get any emails, and sending emails is a good way to deepen friendships,” said one second year high school student from a Tokushima City school who reported sending over 70 emails a day. “I send messages like ‘I’m sleepy’ during class. It also helps me to apologise after a fight and say stuff I can’t usually say,” said another second year student from a senior high school in Tokushima City.
However, there are fears that this dependency on mobile phones might have dangers. Sakane Kenji, an associate professor at Naruto Kyoiku University (school risk management theory) said, “it may lead to a drop in face to face communication. Schools and families need to realise what is going on, and work out a better way for their children to communicate.”
In the upcoming school year, several schools have been declared as model schools by the prefectural BoE to work towards creation of rules along with the help of student councils. “It isn’t realistic to forbid the use of mobile phones, but rather determine a way in which we can teach students how to use them and think about usage themselves. I hope this can also be a topic of discussion at home as well.”