Nearly 60 per cent of children aged 10 to 17 have mobile phones or smartphones, and about 40 per cent of them used the devices to browse the Internet for more than two hours on average during weekdays in fiscal 2013, a recent Cabinet Office survey found.
Among those who have mobile phones or smartphones, 49.3 per cent said they experienced Internet-related troubles such as receiving unwanted chain mails.
In the annual survey, carried out from Nov. 9 to Dec. 8 last year, 59.5 per cent of the children said they own mobile phones or smartphones, up 4.7 percentage points from the previous survey in fiscal 2012. Of them, users of smartphones, including those made for children, stand at 58.4 per cent, a jump from 36 per cent in the previous year, and a significant leap from 2.9 per cent three years ago.
Phone ownership rates are 36.6 per cent among primary school children, 51.9 per cent among middle school students and 97.2 per cent among high school students. While the figure for primary school children sharply increased from 20.9 per cent in the survey three years ago, the results for middle school children show a gradual uptrend. Smartphone use by high school students has remained in the upper 90 per cent range.
Time spent on the Internet with mobile phones or smartphones on a weekday clocked in at 107.4 minutes on average, a sharp rise from 71 minutes in the fiscal 2010 survey. The average figure among smartphone users reached 132.6 minutes, while usage for normal cell phone users remained at 43.4 minutes.
The Cabinet Office targeted 3,000 children and 3,000 parents in the face-to-face survey, with responses received from 1,817 children and 1,993 parents. The annual survey has been carried out since fiscal 2009.