Officials are eager to stop young people from sending salacious images.

We live in unprecedented times, as I’m sure you well know by now. But one of the most striking changes in recent years is how ubiquitous and constant our use of technology is. While some of us remember being in our early twenties by the time we had our own cell phone, now it’s something of a necessity for people at younger and younger ages. This brings its own challenges, of course. How can you help children and teenagers stay safe on the Internet while respecting their privacy?

This issue is further complicated by how many phones nowadays come with cameras, and where there are cameras, there are selfies.

While snapping a cute photograph of yourself isn’t a crime, some younger people might find themselves tempted to take photographs where they’re in a state of undress…or in a worst-case scenario, be directed to do so by an outside party. Once a compromising photograph like this exists it could be sent to other people, uploaded online, or even discovered through hacking, and so the government is expressly encouraging phone carriers to implement technology that can restrict inappropriate selfies.

▼ There are already rules in place for using your phone for upskirt photography and other misdemeanors.

The request comes as part of the government’s most recently declared 5th Basic Plan on Measures for Providing Safe and Secure Internet Use for Young People. This plan includes such initiatives as education programs in schools to help young people acclimatize to the digital world, awareness campaigns regarding harmful content and predatory practices that are present online, and the promotion of ways to deal with uniquely Internet-based problems like cyberbullying.

Despite their good intentions, this announcement has largely been met with sarcasm and raised eyebrows.

“The heck? Who decides what counts as inappropriate? Anyway, what about the normal camera?”
“This is pointless. You can just use another camera to take a photo and send it. We’re still a long way away from finding an actual solution to this issue.”
“Isn’t this a weird way to handle the problem?”
“This is stupid beyond belief. Is the Japanese government doing okay?”

It’s worth noting that some cell phone carriers have already implemented technology like this even ahead of the announcement, though it’s still unclear how successful said technologies are at efficiently filtering the “inappropriate” content from the “appropriate”. With worries about censorship thrown into the mix, this selfie-restriction rule seems set to be a controversial initiative however well it’s implemented.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun Online via Otakomu
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