National

63% of senior high school students spend at least two hours a day on a smartphone

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Nearly two-thirds of senior high school students spend at least two hours a day tapping their smartphones, messaging buddies, reading news or just aimlessly surfing.

More precisely, 63.3 percent spend two hours or more online, while 11.4 percent lose at least five hours a day glued to their phones, a government survey showed on Wednesday. The average user tinkered around online for 154.6 minutes a day.

Many are chained to other devices, too. If you include online use from a personal computer or gaming console, 18.9 percent of senior high school students spend at least five hours a day on the Internet, the Cabinet Office survey showed.

Some 3,441 elementary, junior and high school students across the country were surveyed in November and December. Of that sample, 68.8 percent provided valid answers, the Cabinet Office said.

The results were submitted the same day to a government panel that’s currently discussing measures to make it safer for minors to surf the Web.

The results underscore a deepening dependence among Japanese youth on online services provided via their smartphones — particularly social networking.

A total of 86.8 percent of senior high school respondents said they use smartphones, compared with 36.3 percent of junior high school and 9.1 percent of elementary school students.

Asked what they do on their devices, 89.6 percent of the senior high school students who use the Internet cited communication services. Meanwhile, 64.4 percent of the junior high school students and 28.7 percent of the elementary school students said they use those services.

The second most popular online service among senior high school students was video streaming, with 78.3 percent saying they watch videos online. Music-related services followed at with 76.4 percent, the survey results showed.

Parents may not be qualified to scold their children for over-use of the Internet. Some 32.1 percent of 3,337 parents who responded to the same survey said they use the Internet two hours or more a day, with 6.7 percent spending five hours or more online. The average was 109 minutes a day.

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