Ishikawa kids face mobile ban

KANAZAWA, Ishikawa Pref. (Kyodo) The Ishikawa Prefectural Assembly will urge parents to prevent their children having cell phones if they are of elementary or junior high school age.

A bill to this effect was submitted to the assembly Wednesday and is expected to be approved June 29 in a majority vote mainly by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito assembly members.

It would be the first ordinance requiring parents to stop their children having cell phones, according to the local authority.

The bill, a revision of an existing ordinance on child-rearing, stipulates parents should “make efforts not to allow their children to have mobile phones except for special purposes, such as crime and disaster prevention.”

“We should create certain rules so immature children will not be involved in crimes,” said an LDP assembly member submitting the bill.

The ordinance is expected to go into force in January. It will not have any punitive clauses.

Separately, the prefectural government presented an ordinance bill to the assembly requiring parents to submit written reasons to mobile phone operators if they refuse to install filtering software to block access to sites deemed harmful on their children’s cell phones.

“The problem is not the mobile phone itself but how children use Internet services. It is necessary to discuss how to prevent them from being victimized by harmful Internet sites,” said Hirotsugu Shimoda, head of the nonprofit Association of Media Study.