This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.
The mayor of Bandung, Indonesia’s second-largest city, has responded to the crisis of hundreds of East Javanese students being hospitalised for smartphone addiction with an unlikely solution.
In 2020, Mayor Oded M. Danial plans to give primary school students chicks to raise to adulthood, so they have something else to do besides playing games and browsing social media on their phones. He really understands Gen Z, huh?
In a preliminary test run, this policy will be implemented on 20-30 students across 30 regencies in Bandung. If proven successful, every primary school student in Bandung, which has a population of 2.4 million, will receive a chick.
“In my program, I will give every child a chick to raise for free, so they can busy themselves with other activities than playing with their gadgets,” Danial told local media. “First, we will train the children on how to raise the chicks, including how to feed and care for them. I expect that this activity will reduce their dependence on gadgets.”
Danial said he also hopes this program will nurture students’ entrepreneurial spirit at a young age, develop their love for animals, and help them learn biology.
In a statement to local media, the mayor explained an award system that will accompany the program. If a child successfully raises the first chick, he or she will receive three new chicks in return, as well as the added responsibility of caring for chilli plants. The child who raises the heaviest chicken at the end of the school year will be awarded a bicycle.
Many may question the effectivity of this program, but it addresses the very real problem of gadget addiction. Indonesia is still a developing nation but it’s only a matter of time before more citizens gain access to gadgets. In fact, at least one hospital in Indonesia has reported that they treat hundreds of children and teens every month for smartphone addiction.
“Japan has entered Society 5.0. Indonesia has just moved from Society 3.0 to 4.0.,” Sri Kusuma, leader of the Education and Child Development Division at the Tanoto Foundation, told local media on Saturday, Oct. 19.
These “societies” are social paradigm shifts, with Society 5.0 referring to a new industrial revolution, revision of the social contract and economic model, and the positive incorporation of technology into daily life. Society 4.0, on the other hand, is characterised by the rapid advancement of technology and the onset of automation and digitisation.
“Japan has begun using technology to connect people with their surroundings. Gadgets are merely tools to empower education. For example in the classroom, research, record-keeping, it’s all digital.”