• Kyodo News

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Elementary school students are getting more psychologically dependent on their cell phones, with about a quarter saying they feel “very anxious” if they do not receive replies to their e-mail, according to a new study.

The study, based on a nationwide survey conducted on 2,400 fifth-graders and 2,400 students in the second year of junior high schools as well as their parents last November, was released by the National Congress of Parents and Teachers Associations of Japan.

Nineteen percent of elementary school students and 22 percent of junior high students said they tend to talk on the phone for long periods, while 25 percent of the elementary school students and 26 percent of the junior high students said they feel very anxious when they do not get e-mail replies, according to the PTA group.

Both figures for the elementary school students were up 7 points from a previous survey in November 2007.

“E-mail can be the start of cell phone dependence,” said Kunihiko Soga, head of the association. “Parents and children should discuss rules on when and how to use cell phones.”

Sixteen percent of the junior high school students, the largest single group, said they send and receive more than 50 e-mail messages through cell phones a day.

More than half of the junior high students send and receive more than 10 each day. Among elementary school students, 34 percent deal with one to five a day, 14 percent six to 10, and 6 percent 11 to 20.

The survey also found that 20 percent of fifth-graders and 42 percent of students in their second year of junior high own a cell phone.

Among the junior high students, 38 percent said they have “e-mail friends” their parents do not know about, up 3 points from the previous survey.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of the parents surveyed said they have introduced filtering services that limit their children’s access to harmful content.

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