News awaited Chinese students back to school, which happened this week across the country. There were changes in schools and beyond.
The government has adopted rules to restrict the time children under 18 can spend playing video games. The ceiling is one hour a day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and holidays. Officials fear that kids are becoming addicted to electronic games.
The government has now also decided to impose limits on the cult of celebrities. He understands that there are excesses in the idolatry of singers, actors and digital influencers. That children’s and youth fan clubs don’t add much to the fans. That the behavior of famous people is not usually a good example.
In recent days, the government has adopted parameters for school assignments. When determining students’ homework assignments, teachers have to take into account a maximum time limit for different age groups. In addition, tests are prohibited for children under six years of age.
If kids aren’t supposed to spend too much time playing video games or following internet celebrities, they can’t study obsessively either.
China, Middle Land
The secret would be in moderation. The big thing is that it’s not the parents who define what is balanced, healthy, or appropriate. It is the authorities who, looking at the whole, determine what individuals should do, including with regard to raising children. The state not only defines how many children a couple can have, but also what time they can play video games.
The Chinese model is sure to be kind to many who live in liberal democracies. At the same time, I’m betting that many parents everywhere would love for game companies to have an obligation to limit their kids’ playing time. Or that the social media giants weren’t, via algorithms, maddeningly supplying the kids’ feed with the latest news from the celebrity world.
In my absolutely unscientific sample, Chinese parents think it’s good for the government to help them with these tasks. But how far does the State’s micro-management go in the lives of families?
The next frontier is algorithms. According to a recently opened public consultation, the government intends to adopt legislation to curb algorithms that are addictive. It also wants to allow users the option of turning off algorithm-based recommendations, meaning that they don’t receive advertising or personalized content. At the same time, the government could promote, in the name of social harmony, content of interest by defining parameters on algorithms.
Perhaps out of pragmatism or resignation, these questions don’t seem to keep the Chinese awake. Or maybe, in part, because they have a very different relationship with the state. The starting point is a high degree of confidence that the government is trying to do the right thing. The Confucian-based tradition of respect for authority also contributes to this attitude.
I feel that, for Chinese parents, the idea that companies freely manage what appears in their children’s feed concerns more than the possibility of the state defining parameters for the algorithms. They tend to trust authorities more than companies.
As long as people’s lives are improving and government decisions coincide with the instincts of the Chinese, the authorities cultivate the idea that they are part of the family and, therefore, have the right to make guesses and impose limits.
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