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‘This is too harsh’: parents in China punish son who watches too much television with all-night TV binge, take turns to keep him awake — dividing public opinion

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 3 days ago Liya Su
  • The case of a boy in China forced to stay up all night watching television as punishment for his TV obsession divides public opinion
  • The boy's mother says the punishment will have a positive effect on her son, but many online felt it was too severe

An eight-year-old boy in China was forced to watch television all night by his parents as punishment for watching too much TV in the country's latest case of tough love parenting.

The unnamed boy, from Hunan province in central China, was left at home while his parents went out and was asked to finish his homework and go to bed by 8.30pm, mainland news outlet Vista reported.

When the parents returned home later that night his mother discovered the boy had not finished his homework or showered, and instead of going to bed, was still up watching TV.

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Although the boy went to bed once his parents came home, his mother dragged him back to the living room and turned on the TV and forced him to watch it all night.

The boy initially handled the situation well, but eventually he became increasingly agitated before starting to cry around 2am. Photo: Handout © Provided by South China Morning Post The boy initially handled the situation well, but eventually he became increasingly agitated before starting to cry around 2am. Photo: Handout

The boy was initially calm and relaxed and ate snacks, played on his tablet device and stretched out on the sofa before he started crying at around 2am. At one point he snuck into his bed to sleep but his mother forced him back to the living room to continue watching television.

The parents took turns monitoring the boy. His father had to wake him up a few times. The parents did not allow the boy to go to bed until around 5am.

The mother said tough parenting had a positive effect on her son.

The story has triggered a heated online discussion in mainland China about tough parenting and discipline.

One commenter, who said she is a mother, wrote: "I had a similar experience. After taking our three-year-old son, who is a fan of KFC, to eat hamburgers and chicken for three days, now his enthusiasm has gone."

Many who read the news report on the boy's punishment felt it was too severe and questioned the benefits of such methods. Photo: Handout © Provided by South China Morning Post Many who read the news report on the boy's punishment felt it was too severe and questioned the benefits of such methods. Photo: Handout

Another said: "The punishment was too harsh, and what if the boy starts to get used to staying up late?"

In Chinese society, tough parenting has long been seen as a way to teach children to be better members of society.

In August this year, an eight-year-old boy in China was forced by his mother to collect recyclable rubbish to earn enough money to repay 20 yuan (US$3) he stole from his grandmother.

In June, a teacher in central China went out of his way to teach a 12-year-old student about the value of an education by taking him to a construction site where his mother worked as a manual labourer.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

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