Boy ‘begs dad for mercy’ after being forced to play games for 17 hours

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A dad inflicted an extreme punishment on his son that many children may initially think is a luxury. As part of a screen time lesson, the father, from Shenzhen, China, challenged his son to play video games for as long as he wanted. But, the condition was he wasn’t allowed to sleep. Eventually, 17 hours, it is reported the boy pleaded for forgiveness. The task had been set in a bid to teach his son the dangers of excessive time using technology. 

He shared the trick in a video posted to the Chinese social media platform Douyin, after catching his son playing video games on his phone at 1.30am earlier this month, well after the child’s bedtime. 

The father, only known as Huang, allowed the boy to continue playing his game after he agreed to his demands and called the school to let them know he wouldn’t be coming in that day.

The child was still playing the video game at 7.30am, but after 12 hours of nonstop play, he was unable to resist the urge to sleep and fell asleep at 1.30pm, local Chinese media reported.

Huang immediately woke his son up and ordered him to keep playing. The youngster reportedly “pleaded for forgiveness” at 6.30pm – 17 hours after he was first caught playing.

The boy even wrote a letter on his computer apologising for staying up late playing video games and promising never to do it again.

One part of the letter written in English said: “I promise I must go to bed before 11 o’clock. I promise not to play the phone [game] before going to bed [and] not to play with toys.”

While he insisted his method was effective, Huang said he would never advise other parents to punish their children with the same experiment.

In a follow-up video, he said: “My son usually has good grades and is very obedient. He often goes outdoors with me, and his physical fitness is also good.”

Regulating youngsters’ screen time became a particularly acute issue during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 when parents of children aged between five and 15 admitted they relaxed some of the rules, Ofcom reported.

The report released in 2021 also showed seven in ten 5-15s played games online in 2020. 

Just 50 percent of children between the ages of eight and 15 who used search engines could accurately identify advertisements on Google searches, and only 50 percent understood which websites in a search engine’s result could be trusted.

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The Government is now trying to protect children from harmful content online with the Online Safety Bill. 

The legislation would force social media giants like Facebook and YouTube to immediately remove unlawful content like revenge porn or hate speech. If they don’t, internet leaders would be subject to harsh fines and even possible criminal prosecution.

Michelle Donelan, the Science and Technology Secretary now in charge of the bill, is hoping to push the legislation through Parliament by the Autumn.

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