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Japanese Government Wants Kosher Phones

yw text2.jpgExactly two weeks ago, YWN reported about the recent speech delivered by Rav Yaakov Bender Shlita, regarding the dangers of the Internet and cell phones. Many have also seen the various ads in newspapers which are advertising “Kosher phones” –  cell phones which can only dial, and receive phone calls.

Just a short while ago, we came across the following article, which shows the significance of this problem, and how it is affecting children across the globe. Additionally, the Japanese government seems to like the idea of “Kosher phones”:

(AP:) Japanese youngsters are getting so addicted to Internet-linking cell phones that the government is starting a program warning parents and schools to limit their use among children.

The government is worried about how elementary and junior high school students are getting sucked into cyberspace crimes, spending long hours exchanging mobile e-mail and suffering other negative effects of cell phone overuse, Masaharu Kuba, a government official overseeing the initiative, said Tuesday.

“Japanese parents are giving cell phones to their children without giving it enough thought,” he said. “In Japan, cell phones have become an expensive toy.”

The recommendations have been submitted from an education reform panel to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s administration, and were approved this week.

The panel is also asking Japanese makers to develop cell phones with only the talking function, and GPS, or global positioning system, a satellite-navigation feature that can help ensure a child’s safety.

About a third of Japanese sixth graders have cell phones, while 60 percent of ninth graders have them, according to the education ministry.

Most mobile phones in Japan are sophisticated gadgets offering high-speed Internet access called 3G, for “third-generation.”

But the panel said better filtering programming is needed for Internet access to protect children.

Some youngsters are spending hours at night on e-mail with their friends.

One fad is “the 30 minute rule,” in which a child who doesn’t respond to e-mail within half an hour gets targeted and picked on by other schoolmates.
Other youngsters have become victims of Internet crimes. In one case, children sent in their own snapshots to a Web site and then ended up getting threatened for money, Kuba said.

Cell phones tend to be more personal tools than personal computers. Parents find that what their children are doing with them are increasingly difficult to monitor, Kuba said.

Some Japanese children commute long distances by trains and buses to schools and cram-schools and parents rely on cell phones to keep in touch with their children.

Parents typically pay about 4,000 yen ($39) a month for cell phone fees per child.

Japan boasts a relatively low crime rate compared to other industrialized nations, but some people are concerned that the Internet could be exploited for serious crimes.

(Source: AP / San Jose Mercury News)

10 Responses

  1. now if all the youngster in yeshivas would get the kosher phone,then all the youngsters would learn better & not be able to text or Email other talmidem during class or yeshiva time that’s if they decide to get the kosher phone

  2. why do teenagers have cell phones? If parents need to leave them a message, what happened to the school office? Schools should confiscate cell phones till the end of the year, if they see anyone using a cell phone. What is going on?
    Who is paying for the phones? Is it something else to add to the budget or do teenagers have to pay for the full use and not just the additional $10.? We are ruining our own children with all the permisiveness for no reason. Wake up

  3. Im a yeshiva student with no texting plan so i cant text without it costing a lot(i have no way of internet either) do i need a new phone?

  4. It is clear to any intelligent parent or educator that other than a simple phone for security reasons poses many temptations which will hamper the healthy development of a child or teenager.

  5. #4 saychel- I can tell you many stories about the school office and messages. Besides, what about outgoing calls? If a kid got something to tell their parents, how are they going to get through? Kids do not get phone access in school, so if they have to stay late in school, or they need to tell them something important, then the parents just won’t find out. Try explaning to the school secratary that your parents actually worry about you. Good luck. Besides, are kids in school all day? What if the kid goes shopping, and the parents needs him/her at home? What gives the school the right to confiscate cell phones anyway? Do they at least pay the parents for the phone? It’s a decision for the parents to make, not the school. Besides, who uses it during school anyways? The phone is more for the parent than for the kid.

    By the way, are these Japanese kosher phones going to be cheaper than the current ones? It might pay for the jewish oilam to get some.

  6. to kiddo15- Kids do not need cell phones in school. They are a distraction. School offices are there for emergencies. Parents can contact their children and children can call their parents. It all depends what you consider an emergency. I think the idea of an emergency has changed from what it used to be. And yes, the school office has the right to make a decision on when a child may call home. Yes- sometimes mistakes are made – but that’s life! As far as parents worrying about their children – I was a child once,too, and I am sure my parents worried about me, but they didn’t have to speak to me every 10 minutes to know that I was o.k. Don’t be so paranoid.

  7. I am a !2 grade bochur. Perents must check every call their chilren make to know who they are talking to. The danger goes beyond texting nd internet. I know bochurim ,both in my yeshivah and also in other rspected yeshivos tthat have relationships with members of the other gender that started with simple cell phone conversations.

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