How to Prevent Teenagers from Falling into the Addiction to the Internet: On a Panel Survey of the Problematic Internet Use of Schoolchildren in Japan

Monday, 16 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Kenichi ITO, Gunma University, Japan
A study team of the Japanese Government (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) executed a massive survey in 2012 and reported the next year that about 8.1% of high school students, which amounted to 518,000 teens, were estimated to belong to the high-risk group of the “addiction to the Internet.” Since this announcement, the Problematic Internet Use (PIU) among teenagers has been regarded as one of the serious social problems in Japan. Not a few researchers, medical doctors and therapists point out that it is very difficult to recover from this “disease.” However, different from other objects of addiction, such as gambling or drugs, Internet services are unavoidable in the digital age. Therefore, it is highly important to prevent teenagers from falling into the PIU. Nevertheless we have only few systematic studies on this problem and not only parents but researchers don’t know what to do to decrease the risk of the PIU.

This paper attempts to find out how many schoolchildren are exposed to the PIU, and which factors affect the PIU in the long term on a successive panel survey we executed from 2015 to 2017 in primary and junior high schools in Maebashi city, Gunma prefecture, Japan. We attempt to probe relationships between students’ PIU and several factors such as their values, attitudes or their satisfaction with their school lives, families or friends. Through this analysis, we want to find out some clues to remove the risk before it becomes serious.