All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This proverb can be applied to Japanese children who study all the time rather than play outside or participate in community events.
According to a survey carried out by the National Institute for Youth Education, children tend to have higher skills important in daily life if they are more active.
The survey was conducted in September and October 2012, targeting primary school students between fourth and sixth grades and their parents, as well as second-year students in middle and high school. About 25,000 responded.
Students were polled on a number of points, including their daily school and home life. Their parents were asked how they treat their children at home. These results were then analysed to determine the extent to which the students had developed such life skills as building relationships with friends, as well as their ability to stick to schedules and achieve goals.
The survey found that children's life skills were higher in proportion to their parents' emphasis on experience in various fields besides study.
For primary, middle and high school students who regularly participate in communal events, students categorized as having high communication abilities accounted for about 40 per cent compared to around 20 per cent for those who didn't take part in such events.
About 30 per cent of primary, middle and high school students who played outside in such areas as mountains and near rivers were healthier and had basic housework skills, compared to less than 20 per cent of students who did not do so.
Children who often played video games had lower communication and housework skills compared to those who were more active. The results also indicate that children whose parents often tell them to "do your best" or "study hard" have comparatively lower abilities in problem solving and other areas.