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More fourth-grade Japanese students play video games or mobile games on school days than children of the same age did nine years ago, a health ministry survey has shown.

The rate came to 74.8% for children born in 2010, up from 65.2% in a similar survey conducted on children born in 2001 when they reached the age of 10.

The health ministry conducted the latest survey last year on some 26,000 children born in 2010 and collected answers from 92% of them.

Of the respondents, those who play games for less than an hour on school days accounted for 71.2% when they were first-grade students. But the proportion fell to 48.1% when they entered the fourth grade.

Of the fourth graders, 38.7% said they play games for an hour or more but less than two hours on school days and 9.8% for two hours or more but less than three hours. Both of the proportions were higher than the percentages marked when the children were first graders.

The survey also showed that many parents are worried about such changes in children’s behavior because of games.

When parents were asked to name things regarding their children’s daily lives that they are concerned about, with multiple answers allowed, 58% cited the long hours their children spend watching television or playing games, up sharply from 34.4% among parents of children born in 2001.

The survey also asked parents whether they allow their fourth graders to have mobile phones.

Of the children born in 2010, 32.8% had mobile phones when they were fourth graders, up from 14.4% for children born in 2001.

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