Japan Data

Smartphones Becoming Standard for Japanese High Schoolers


Over 90% of high school students and more than half of junior high students in Japan own smartphones.

A survey of parents of children from the fourth year of elementary school to the third year of high school found that 53.5% of Japanese junior high students and 91.5% of high school students own a smartphone.

The survey, conducted by cram school Meiko Gijuku, found that 26.6% of the respondents bought their child a mobile phone in the first year of high school. The next most common time was the first year of junior high school (21.6%), showing that entering a new school was a common reason.

The age thought most appropriate for a child to receive a smartphone, according to 49.9% of the respondents, was the first year of high school, and 13.1% also said that there was no need for a child below high-school age to have one. While only a total of around 35% thought that it was appropriate for a junior high or elementary school student to own a smartphone, in reality parents tend to make a purchase before the time they might say is most fitting.

The most common reason for purchasing a smartphone, cited by 61.2% of the respondents, was the convenience of communicating with a child via Line. The next two most common reasons were that the child’s friends already had smartphones (39.2%) or simply that the child wanted a smartphone (20.1%). Multiple answers were possible.

More specific reasons included the following: “After entering high school, my child will be coming home later, so I want to be sure we can contact each other” (parent of third-year junior high student); “My child is often riding the train or bus alone to go to cram school or other activities” (parent of a first-year high school student); “The high school my child wants to go to is far from our house, so we need a way to communicate, and there are not many public phones these days” (parent of third-year junior high student). Such answers show the concerns that lead parents to purchase smartphones for their children.

Line was by far the most common application downloaded by children on their smartphones (85.3%), followed by downloaded games and videos. Only around 17% of children downloaded learning applications on their smartphone.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)