- A 17-year-old in Japan is standing up for his right to play hours of video games and has enlisted the support of his mother and lawyer
- He says his family, not the government, should set the rules for video game and smart phone use
A Japanese teenager is standing up for his right to play hours of video games, crowdfunding for a lawsuit to challenge local government guidelines on limiting video gaming for children.
The 17-year-old, who asked to be identified only by his first name Wataru, has enlisted the support of his mother and a lawyer in his bid to challenge the first-of-its-kind ordinance issued by Kagawa prefecture in western Japan.
The ordinance calls for children to be limited to an hour a day of gaming during the week, and 90 minutes during school holidays.
It also suggests children aged 12 to 15 should not be allowed to use smartphones later than 9pm, with the limit rising to 10pm for children between 15 and 18. But while the rules are just guidelines with no enforcement mechanism, Wataru said, “How long children are allowed to play games or use a smartphone should be rules set by each family, not by the government.”
The time limits in the guidelines “have no scientific evidence”, he argued. “They are based on the premise that gaming is the cause of issues such as truancy and addiction to games. “But it could be the other way around. Truancy can be caused by problems in school.”
He adds, “There are so many playgrounds that ban playing football. How can kids have fun?”