PTA poll finds 65% of parents object to giving fifth-graders phones

JIJI

A total of 65.7 percent of parents with fifth-graders do not think it is necessary for children to carry mobile phones, a survey by the national council of parent-teacher associations said Monday.

The survey also found that a record 23.0 percent of fifth-graders now have their own phones, up 3.1 points from the previous year.

Although many parents do not want their children to carry phones, the number of children who have “keitai” (mobile phones) is rising in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and amid high public concern about crime, the PTA umbrella body said.

The fiscal 2011 survey, conducted from November to December last year, covered 9,600 fifth-graders, second-year junior high school students and their parents. Valid responses were obtained from 8,043 of those surveyed, or 83.8 percent.

According to the results, 6.8 percent of the parents think fifth-graders need to have mobile phones. The main reason, cited by 58.6 percent of the parents, was safety — particularly the ability to get in contact with the children at any time. It is not clear whether the survey compared this data with the previous year’s figures.

As for students with phones, 17.4 percent said they had received chain mail messages and 20.0 percent said they had received spam. The survey also found that 20.2 percent of the students surveyed feel stressful when they don’t receive a reply to an email. It is not clear whether the survey compared this data with the previous year’s figures.

The PTA council is warning about the problems that can result from receiving “unhealthy” email and the hazards of encouraging children to become reliant on mobile phones.

The poll also said that a record 45.0 percent of second-year junior high school students have handsets, up 4.8 points from the previous year.

Meanwhile, the proportion of parents who find it necessary for second-year students to carry mobiles came to 14.1 percent. It is not clear whether the survey compared this data with the previous year’s figures.