Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and “Isolated Child-Rearing” in Japan

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 413
Oral Presentation
Naomi UMEDA , Osaka Prefecture University, Osaka, Japan
This paper explores how ICT affects social movements for dealing with “isolated child-rearing” through analysis of political documents and qualitative interview data, especially focusing on the relation between ICT and neighborhood relationships or regional networks for families.In Japan today, these social movements for dealing with “isolated child-rearing” have been active. They problematizes “isolated child-rearing” which result from the urbanization, the increasing number of nuclear families and the dilution of neighborhood and family relationships, mainly on the assumption that the isolation relates to “child abuse” and “child-rearing anxiety.” For this reason, they try to strengthen supports for parents by neighborhood or special local agencies.On the other hand, recently some governmental ICT projects for preventing “isolated child-rearing” have been promoted , such as building a social networking service site for parents and developing e-learning environments to foster advisors on child-rearing. These projects enable parents to seek advice or to talk with other parents on their smartphone or personal computer without leaving home regardless of their regional contacts. So, how does the promotion of these ICT projects affect the need for developing a sense of community and building regional networks for preventing “isolated child-rearing”? In conclusion, the governmental ICT projects in Japan are rigidly focusing on “local community.”, so in the name of “community informatization,” many local governments are engaged in developing ICT to strengthen neighborhood relationships and regional networks. Similarly in a real-life situation, most of the parents who replied this investigation prefer to ask for help and talk with someone they know by sight rather than only online. For these parents, the primary objective of using ICT in their child-rearing lives is to communicate with their family or neighbors. Thus, in Japan the utilization of ICT for preventing “isolated child-rearing” is directed to strengthening neighborhood relationships or regional networks.