TOPAichi Prefecture City of Kariya to Enforce Cell Phone Curfew

Aichi Prefecture City of Kariya to Enforce Cell Phone Curfew

By Alec Jordan

For students, staying up past their bedtime will soon be banned in this Japanese city.

The city of Kariya in Aichi Prefecture said it a curfew on using smartphones after 9 pm would soon be enforced in hopes of minimizing the negative effects it has on elementary and middle school students such as bullying and peer pressure.

A parent-teacher association and a local group consisting of teachers, social workers and police brought the concern to light and agreed to “request” parents and children to follow the rule starting April.

City officials said the ban is aimed at reducing bullying and other issues among schoolchildren.

According to Fushitoshi Ohashi, principal of Karigane Junior High School, an increasing number of kids use their smartphones until late at night to communicate with friends, and this could cause problems.

Citing popular messaging app Liue, which allows users to check if messages have been read, students feel pressured to reply, leading to continuous back-and-forth that can stretch on deep into the night.

“They feel they have to reply because their friends will ask why they aren’t responding if they don’t,” Ohashi said. “When this happens, they can’t study even if they want to because they are preoccupied with communicating … it’s hard to ignore (messages).”

After 9 pm, the kids will have to give the phones to their parents to refrain from using them. The ban, however, will have no binding power and students who violate the rule will not be punished, which renders it moot.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: “space” by Kate Sumbler/Flickr