Cause of middle schooler’s depression is linked to one of teens’ deepest sources of joy.

The intense pressures of academic and professional life in Japan can leave little time for communication between parents and children. Kids get up, go to school, participate in extra-curricular activities, go to cram school, then come home with homework for two sets of classes. Working parents, meanwhile, often arrive home late and exhausted after putting in overtime on a nearly daily basis.

In recent years, though, there’s been a push in Japanese society for parents to spend more time talking with their kids, a change spurred by rising concerns about the effects of youth bullying that can escape the notice of harried moms and dads. So when Japanese father and Twitter user @tokipack noticed that his son, a first-year junior high school student, was acting extremely gloomy, he did what any good father would do and asked what was troubling the boy.

But while having to face would-be bullies is an experience that everyone might have at some point, it turns out that the real source of his son’s anxiety was a completely different, yet also inevitable, part of growing up.

In @tokipack’s words:

“My son, who’s in his first year of middle school, is really down in the dumps.

Is he being bullied?

I tell ya, Dad is gonna make sure that bully never makes it to high school!

At least, that’s what I was thinking. But when I asked my son what was bothering him, he told me he’d been secretly looking at a porn site on the Internet, and that they’d sent him a bill for 300,000 yen [US$2,730].

I’m just going to let him stew while I enjoy the comedy a little longer.”

A few hours later, @tokipack’s son headed off to bed, still heavy-hearted over the monetary ramifications of his burgeoning interest in pornography. It was still on the boy’s mind the next morning when, racked with guilt that he may have financially ruined the family, he asked his father if he had enough money to cover his smut-derived debts, at which point @tokipack couldn’t keep the joke to himself any longer.

“Good news. My son is feeling better.

He came to me and asked how much money I have I my bank account, and I just couldn’t hold it in anymore, so I burst out laughing.

Those kinds of bills are scam, I told him, so you can just ignore them.

Don’t worry, and carry on typing ‘boobs’ into search engines.”

In mixing tough love (by making his son think about what he’d done), an understanding of healthy pubescent urges, and even a sense of humor, @tokipack had other Twitter users laughing and applauding his parenting technique. Of course, should you ever feel the need to fight back against online scam artists instead of just ignoring them, we can help you form a battle plan.

Source: Jin
Top image: Pakutaso