Debate: Topic and Outline
As usual we will examine this issue from the discussion between Akiko
Akiko: The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that approximately 2~3 percent of the general population suffer from gaming addiction.
Benjamin: With the statement released by WHO, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare have also conducted a research and have found out that in 2017 around 930,000 people in Japan suffers from gaming addiction.
Akiko: What is the problem with people addicted to games?
Benjamin: Addiction can be especially harmful to middle and high schools tudents. As the students become addicted to gaming, they start to be late to school, leading to their teachers reprimanding them forbeing late, which would eventually make the students skip school entirely. Overall, gaming addiction can lead the teens to stay up all night and damage their life style.
Akiko: I’ve heard that around 5 years ago there was a student in ABCDGakuin, who had symptoms similar to a gaming disorder. How was the situation like?
Benjamin: Yes. This student who was so smart that he had a dream to become an astronaut in future, was a part of a gaming club in middle school and he often played games with the members of the club. He continued playing games outside the clubs and he regularly played game sat his home until midnight. Since the lessons of ABCD Gakuin started from Saturday afternoon, he took advantage of that and played gamesuntil midnight. However, because he was up all night he couldn’t wakeup in the mornings and had started to become late in the afternoon lessons. There was a female teacher from England back then, who also happened to be a mother. The teacher tried to support the student and lectured how this addiction was harmful for him. In the end, the student eventually stopped coming to the Gakuin.
Akiko: Was there any response from the student’s parents?
Benjamin: Since the mother was working fulltime, she assumed that hewas going to school every day. The father got mad at his son and itoften turned into a fight. After few years the student had his first encounter with high school entrance examinations and finally realized that he no longer has the time to waste with games. He went to International Christian University (ICU), a prestigious university in Tokyo. We are all very proud of him.
Akiko: On the other hand, this June, the Abe Administration announced that Japan should start transforming into a society which fullyutilizes digital technology. With this goal, the administration alsostated that there would be a need in fostering professions such asengineers. The country plans to adopt a programing course as well forelementary students starting in 2020.
Benjamin: But doesn’t Japan already have decent number of engineers? Why do they need more at this time? Why would they need to start aprograming course for elementary students?
Akiko: According to Ms. Ishido from CANVAS, an Non-profit organization, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry estimates that there would be a shortage in engineers in Japan. Specifically it is argued that by 2020 there would be a shortage of 370,000 engineers and by 2030 that number will be increased to 790,000.This issue has been discussed for the last 30 years and is understood as a major crisis in recent years.
Benjamin: Why would the shortage be a major issue?
Akiko: The IT technology has been accelerating as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the internet has practically taken over the world. Every industry in the world is dominated by the IT technology.
Benjamin: How would we be able to solve this issue?
Akiko: Allowing children to learn programing would be a good start.
Benjamin: The measure suggested by the Japanese government seems a bitfrom the pre-war period, something close to the “total mobilization”. I wonder if the country is seriously considering the children’s education, in my opinion I feel that the country is not that serious or taking full responsibility on the programing education.
Akiko: I understand, with the issues surrounding gaming addiction it may be possibly dangerous for children becoming familiar to programing (which has close relations with PC gaming). As the children become more close to PC gaming they could start to care less about programing.
Benjamin: It is unknown how the administration is planning to enforce the programming courses. Thus I feel it is important to have a body that openly investigates this course. Furthermore, opinions of the parents should also be applied before making any major decisions for the elementary school aged children.
Akiko: The government’s plan may seem dangerous as they are only
thinking about the profits they could make from this policy.
The above is translated by Ms.Kaizuka and proof reading by Mr. Sam