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Children with Keitai: When Mobile Phones Change from “Unnecessary” to “Necessary”

  • Misa MatsudaEmail author
Article
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Abstract

This paper focuses on children in Japan who begin using mobile phones (keitai) while in elementary school and will discuss aspects of parental–child relationships that involve keitai use. Firstly, this paper presents an overview of a Japanese society presently immersed in mobile media, focusing particularly on the spread of mobile media use to younger Japanese children. Data are presented from two research projects and analyzed to examine the cause of, and circumstances that lead to, child keitai use. Increasing social anxieties about safety and parental concern have reportedly led to increasing perception that keitai use is valuable in times of emergency, or in order to prevent crime, leading to a shift in attitudes towards children’s keitai use: that which was formerly considered “unnecessary” has now become “necessary”. However, the anxiety about safety is shared by almost all people and is therefore not itself a deciding factor regarding children’s keitai ownership. Keitai usage is, instead, prompted by several factors, some of which are not shared by children and parents. From this rift in reasoning emerges a game of tug-of-war over ownership and use between children and parents.

Keywords

Mobile phone Keitai Children Family Parent–child relationships 

要約

本稿は小学生のケータイ利用に焦点をあてることで、日本の親子関係について議論するものである。まず、ケータイが埋め込まれている日本社会の状況を、特に若年層へのケータイ利用の広がりに注目しながら概観した上で、二種類の調査結果を分析することで子どもにケータイ利用を促す具体的な要因を明らかにする。 

近年、治安悪化に関する不安と子どもへの関心の高まりから、緊急時や犯罪に巻き込まれることへの備えとして、ケータイが位置づけられるようになっている。それゆえ、以前は子どもには「不要」だと思われていたケータイが、「必要」だと認識されるようになってきているが、治安悪化に関する不安はほとんどすべての人に共有されているために、子どものケータイ所有の決定要因とは言えない。むしろ、子どもにケータイを買い与える際には、それぞれの家庭においてケータイを必要とする複数の具体的な要因があり、ケータイを持ちたい子どもと持たせたくない親との間で繰り広げられる「綱引き」もみられる。そして、このような状況は、新しいメディアであるケータイが社会に埋め込まれる交渉過程として理解できる。

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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LettersChuo UniversityTokyoJapan

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