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[Survey of Media Use by Children and Parents] 2-3. Reluctance or Concerns about Media Use


With respect to children's use of digital media, mothers tend to be more reluctant to let their children use game consoles than to let them watch TV programs, videos and DVDs. New media devices come somewhere in between, as mothers are less reluctant to use them compared to gaming players, but more reluctant to use them than to watch TV programs, etc. The main reasons for their reluctance are "long hours use," "damage to eyesight" and "addiction" (in descending order of the number of answers). Overall, mothers are less reluctant about children's use of media tools that they are familiar with, while younger mothers are less reluctant about the use of new media tools.

Mothers are more reluctant to let their children use game consoles than to let them watch TV programs, videos and DVDs

To what extent do mothers feel reluctant to let their children use media? We asked the respondents about their reluctance regarding the use of media tools by type including those their children were not using. Figure 2-3-1 shows that quite few mothers replied that they were "very reluctant" to let children watch TV programs (1.8%) and videos and DVDs (1.6%). Overall, only less than 30% of mothers chose "very reluctant" or "rather reluctant," indicating that the majority of mothers are not so reluctant to let their children watch TV programs, videos, and DVDs.

As for game consoles, more mothers replied that they were "very reluctant" to let children use console-type gaming players (42.1%) and handheld gaming players (45.5%). Overall, more than 70% of mothers chose "very reluctant" or "rather reluctant."

As for other media tools, a relatively moderate number of mothers replied that they were "very reluctant" to let children use PCs (21.0%), tablets (25.6%), smartphones (27.5%), and mobiles (26.1%). Overall, however, more than 60% of mothers chose "very reluctant" or "rather reluctant," which indicates that the majority of mothers are concerned about children's use of these devices.

When examining the mothers who chose "very reluctant" by age group, more mothers of older generations tend to be reluctant to let their children use media than those of younger generations, although this result is not shown here. More precisely, 20.3% of mothers aged 29 years or younger chose "very reluctant" regarding children's use of smartphones while 32.1% of those aged 40 years or older did so. Likewise, 33.0% of mothers aged 29 years or younger and 47.5% of those aged 40 years or older chose "very reluctant" regarding the use of console-type gaming players, while 36.7% of mothers aged 29 years or younger and 50.2% of those aged 40 years or older chose "very reluctant" about the use of "handheld gaming players." As you can see, the percentage of older mothers who chose "very reluctant" is more than 10 percentage points higher than that of younger mothers for each question. Therefore, it can be said that younger mothers are less reluctant about children's use of new media tools than older mothers are. This is probably because younger mothers tend to access new media tools more frequently than older mothers do, and thus, are more familiar with these tools. As explained previously, mothers tend to be less reluctant about children's use of media tools which mothers are familiar with. Therefore, it is projected that mothers will become less reluctant to let their children use new media tools such as smartphones and tablets in the near future.

Figure 2-3-1 Reluctance to use media devices

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Mothers are concerned about potential damage to eyesight, access to inappropriate websites, and addiction to digital media

What concerns mothers about children's use of digital media? We asked the respondents to what extent they are concerned about their children's use of digital media. Figure 2-3-2 shows that the majority of mothers were "very concerned" about children's long hours use (63.7%), damage to eyesight (62.9%), addiction (51.3%) and concern about later addiction to digital media (46.4%). These results indicate that mothers are concerned about digital media which can be dangerously addictive for children, causing negative effects such as damage to eyesight and excessive reliance on media by watching or using media tools for long hours. Some mothers were also worried that the use of digital media disturbs daily life patterns (33.9%), or provokes the loss of balance between outdoor play and indoor screen time (33.7%) and difficulty in shifting attention from one task to another (28.6%). If children are using media tools for long hours, this may cause a difficulty in shifting attention from one task to another or reduce time for their outdoor activities.

As for the content of digital media, 48.5% of mothers were concerned with children's access to charged websites or dangerous websites, while 25.5% of mothers chose use of foul language and attitude. This indicates that mothers are concerned about the use of digital media that provides possible access to digital content unsuitable for children.

Figure 2-3-2 Concerns about digital media use

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