March 1, 2007
This topic is going around in Japanese blogosphere lately, sparked by a Japanese magazine FACTA article. Using NetRatings' survey data last November, showing the constant decline of the ratio of people in their 20's among the PC-Web users from home, the article analyzes that the young people in this age category only use mobile phones for their Web surfing purposes, and it signifies the new "digital devide" in Japanese society.
This age group has been (not born but) raised with high-functionality cell phones in Japan, and are more accustomed to use cell phone. The writer's concern is that if these young people cannot afford to buy PC and don't learn to type on full keyboard (or do not wish to use PC because they don't know how to type), then they will be forever confined into the limited functionality and passive Web experience on cell phones, instead of participating positively on Web intelligence. As a result, their status in the intelligence society will be fixtured on the bottom and will have little chance to rise up.
I don't know if the analysis is true or not, but according to the discussion on 2-channel bulletin board, there may be some truth in it. Lots of people agree that young people don't like to use PC, or cannot afford PC, and they all like to use cell phones. However, the source statistics show that kids under 19 are taking up PC pretty quickly - maybe because they still live with their parent. Some people point out that the stats is about the use from home, not in the office, so maybe 20-something are just using their office PC's. Or... 20-something generation was first exposed to cellphone culture early on, when PC broadband connection was a luxury, while U-19 have home broadband connection since they first learn to type...
Anyway, interesting statistics.