Home Society & Culture Kagawa Tries to Make Kids Play Less Video Games via Puzzling New Ordinance

Kagawa Tries to Make Kids Play Less Video Games via Puzzling New Ordinance

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Because politicians in Kagawa have nothing better to do.

Kagawa Prefecture on the island of Shikoku is a relatively rural area of Japan that is primarily known for its delicious udon. However, recently the prefecture has also become known as that place in Japan that is stragely obsessed with preventing kids from playing video games and using smartphones.

After several weeks since the policy was first made public, the Kagawa Prefectural Assembly finally passed its infamous Ordinance for Measures Against Internet and Video Game Addiction (ネット・ゲーム依存症対策条例). With such a proper sounding name, one would be tempted to think that the ordinance might provide some concrete help for parents whose children are dealing with the problem of addiction to the internet, smartphones, and, of course, video games. Unfortunately, even a minimal amount of scrutiny quickly reveals that there is little substance to this so-called ordinance.

The first of its kind in Japan, Kagawa’s new intenernet and video game addiction ordinance lays out certain guidelines for parents in Kagawa. First, it states that parents should only allow their children to play video games for 60 minutes each day on weekdays. This daily limit is extended to 90 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. Second, the policy calls on parents to not let children use smartphones and other devices after certain times: 9 p.m. for those of junior high-age or younger, and 10 p.m. for those in high school.

The policy is set to go into effect on April 1. However, given the fact that it will not be enforced in any real way or require any punishment for parents who do not follow it, it seems like nothing will change for young gamers and smartphone users in Kagawa anytime soon.

Not surprisingly, the policy does not appear to be a popular one in Japan. Originally made public in January of this year, many immediately began pointing out the pointless, absurd, and intrusive nature of the ordinance. This last criticism does appear to have had at least some offect on the policy makers, resulting in the softening of some language used in the final version of the ordinance. For example, the original version used language such as “set restrictions,” but the revised version simply calls on parents to “make household rules.” The revised version also calls the guidelines “goals” for guardians, rather than “standards.”

The minor tweaks in the language of the ordinance fail to address the larger issues of the ordinance, though. Rather than providing support to parents dealing with a real issue, it simply seems to tell them: All video games, internet and smartphones are bad, and it’s up to you to fix this problem, so leave us out of it.

Source: Livedoor via SoraNews24
Image: Pixabay

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