Japan’s mobile bullying problem

Mobile phone bullying is on the rise in Japan, where some 96% of high school students own mobile phones, and the country's Education Ministry is proposing a nationwide ban on cellphones at school. "Nearly 6,000 incidents of mobile phone-related bullying were reported in schools last year, a rise of more than 1,000 compared with the previous year," The Telegraph reports, citing Japanese government data. "The panel also proposed mobile phone companies install public payphones in schools and introduce function limitations on mobile devices while parents establish domestic rules regulating phone usage." An 18-year-old student in Kobe committed suicide last summer "after classmates posted a nude photo of him on a Web site alongside his name and telephone number before sending emails demanding money," and the governor of Osaka has already banned mobile phones in his prefecture's schools. "Japan has the largest mobile phone market in the world, with annual sales of 50 million phones," according to The Telegraph, which adds that about a third of all elementary school students own mobile phones. As for bullying in general, in the US, every day some 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied, The Coloradoan reports in "Positive relationships end bullying." In the UK, 48% of 10-to-15-year-olds have been "verbally or physically abused in the last year," The Telegraph reports, citing findings from a survey of 150,000 kids by education watchdog Ofsted. See also USATODAY's "Bullying victimization devastates lives … until victims find ways to heal."

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