About 75 percent of high school students said in an Internet survey conducted in January that they have earned money online using their mobile phones.
The survey by information security company Digital Arts Inc. queried students between the fourth grade of elementary school and the third year of high school, with 618 valid responses received. While overall the percentage of students who had made money online was about 30 percent, among high school students it was 79.6 percent for boys and 68.9 percent for girls.
The most common method that high school students said they used to make money was using websites that award money or other gifts in exchange for answering questionnaires or playing games, with 76.8 percent of high school boys and 76.1 percent of high school girls who made money saying they did it this way.
The next most common method was selling used possessions, with 11 percent of high school boys and 19.7 percent of girls who made money saying they did so. Next was posting videos and photos, at 7.3 percent for the boys and 11.3 percent for the girls.
The average monthly income from Internet sources for the high school students who used them was 9,116 yen for boys and 11,127 yen for girls.
"These online methods seem to be popular because students can make money easily without working a part-time job," a Digital Arts representative suggests. The firm did not investigate what the students sold or posted, but in addition to used CDs and books, sexually explicit photos are expected to be among the items sold.
"Once an image has gone online, it is difficult to get it erased. The Internet is not to be easily trusted," said Mayuko Watanabe, senior researcher at Keio University's Keio Research Institute at SFC, who supervised the survey. Watanabe added that children need Internet safety education both in school and at home.