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Smart Phone Changed Our Life

Homare Itoh

July 26, 2018


In 1970, the first wireless phone appeared in Japan. Personal cell phones have come a long way since their introduction in the late 1980s. Once a simple wireless communication device was developed, it has evolved into a personal computer, combining with a video game system, and equipped with a camera and phone into one convenient, pocket-sized piece of technology. As these smartphones become more sophisticated and more prevalent, the pros and cons of their use become more evident and widespread. The diffusion rate of smartphones is less than 40% in 2012, but in 2016 it exceeds 70% in Japan.





Eight Things Mobile Phones Have Made Our Life Convenient


1. Rescuing.

On March 11, 2011, when the huge earthquake (Great East Japan Earthquake) happened, people fully make use of wireless phones for search and rescue operations while most landlines were shut down.  Japanese people were realized the importance of smartphones at this occasion.


2. Ubiquitous.

It allows you to receive updated news feeds in real time by accessing to such news sites as Yahoo! and Google. So it is a great way to search anything quickly and easily.


3. Connecting.

By using applications like Line (the application most commonly by Japanese ) you can call and mail to your friend and family through the internet (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. SNS utilization in Japan (2015)



Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

4. Imaging.

A smartphone comes with a camera that works as both camera and video camera. In the past, people had to buy three products that are now comprised in a smartphone. So, people can capture every moment that matter in their phone with a single touch.


5. Socializing.

You can easily stay connected with your friends, family, and even your favorite celebrities with a smartphone.


6. Guiding.

The navigational apps are so powerful that it clears all the stress associated with finding your way in a city or in a less populated place for that matter. So people don’t use a map.


7. Watching.

Smartphones are now your complete entertainment system. People can download full length movies, or if they have an account, watch Netflix.Over the boarding time of the train and the bus when 1/3 people arewatching movie (source by Dentsu Macromill Insight Company)

8. Listening. Listen to your favorite songs by downloading them and using your phone as an MP3 player, or use free apps like YouTube.

Serious Problems of Smartphone in Japan

As the smartphone market enters a growth period, there have a lot of serious social issues in recently years. For example, the information leakage and obstruction of business as a result of so-called cyber attacks on networks. The growing number of elementary school students owning smartphones and severe internet-addiction problems have been cropping up among children from increasingly earlier ages.

   According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, in 2013, about one elementary school student out of three owned a cell phone, up from one out of five in 2010. In a survey conducted in 2014, those in the 10-19 year age segment were found to spend the most time using their smartphones, for an average of 3 hours, 15 minutes per day on weekends -- the highest usage among all age segments. So like alcoholism or drugs, it's exceedingly difficult to rid oneself of Internet addiction theirs serious problem.

Problems of “Nagara Sumaho”

People are walking while checking the smartphone everywhere in the department store, when you cross the traffic lights at the train station in the morning and evening when they commute. They are busy in replying to Line, checking the Facebook and Twitter, or, accessing news and weather forecasts. Recently, there are also many people walking wearing earphones while watching videos such as YouTube on smartphone. It seems as if people cannot walk around anywhere without looking at their smartphones anymore.

   In October 2016, a movie was posted on Internet. In the video, a tourist bus driver plays a game on smartphone (Pokemon GO) while he is on duty in Osaka. The driver and bus company officially apologized his dangerous behavior. In March 2016, the death accident happened in Tokyo. A first grade boy of elementary school was killed by the large tourist bus. The driver was reading a message on Line and he operated a bus with one hand. According to the Ministry of Transport, from January to April 2016, there were 33 cases of which the bus drivers were watching their phones while they were operating a vehicle, which is called “Nagara Sumaho (using smartphone while doing some other things).

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