Give kids back their childhood
Happy Children's Day!
This greeting is not only for children on Saturday, but for everyone, as Internet and social media have clearly extended childhood and made it a tradition to celebrate the festival every year. While nostalgia permeates, many can't help but ask one question: What makes childhood memorable?
But before savoring the beautiful memories of our own, it seems the childhood of today's kids have been stolen, or even deprived, to some extent.
Maybe the question asked should be, "What could we do to give kids back their childhood?"
File photo of children in class. /VCG Photo

File photo of children in class. /VCG Photo

Give your love instead of your thoughts

Earlier this year, a short video of a three-year-old girl being beaten by her impatient mother has stirred huge controversy and anger on social media, drawing attention to the field of child modeling.
Industry insiders reveal that attracted by high profits, parents make their children work nearly 10 hours a day, posing in hundreds of outfits for photographers and squeezing smiles on their faces with heavy make-up.
Some parents even put their kids on a diet in order to keep their height below 130 centimeters, the maximum “industrial standard” for a child model, for as long as they can to make more money.
Those children could make up to millions every year, but without time for games or even school. While asked about their dreams, most of them said they would like to give up everything for an ice cream or a good night's sleep.
Child models during a show. /VCG Photo

Child models during a show. /VCG Photo

Well before they are able to choose their own future, they are already forced into a career that even adults may find exhausting.
In a newly released list of representative cases by the Chinese Supreme People's Procuratorate on Monday, a mechanism to protect child models was included in order to improve social monitoring on the protection of children's legal rights.
After the incident, east China's Hangzhou city issued a directive banning extreme behaviors such as forcing children to skip classes or drop out of school for modeling.
The incident of the child model being beaten by her mother might be singular, but it has exposed problems in the protection of children. As legal guardians, parents are supposed to protect their children, and society should shoulder the responsibility of monitoring inappropriate parenting. On top of all that, there is the law to keep everyone in check. 

House their bodies instead of their souls

Summer vacation follows Children's Day, and in the memories of many, it means months of leisure time for developing interests or taking a trip to their desired destinations.
Accompanying her daughter this way. /VCG Photo

Accompanying her daughter this way. /VCG Photo

However, for many children, the pleasures of a summer vacation have been non-existent for years.
It has also been a chronic disease in society for years: while parents are complaining about the high expenses they have to spend on their children's education in order to give them a good start, their kids can no longer have a happy childhood.
Back in 2017, a mother's complaining about spending over 30,000 yuan (4,348 U.S. dollars) for her daughter's summer vacation plan once stirred debate on social media as well. On her list, she had to spend money for her daughter's tour to the U.S., babysitting, training lessons for piano, swimming, English, Math Olympiad, writing…
But putting costs aside, parents worrying about huge expenditures seem to forget to ask their children about how they want to spend the summer vacation, instead of fulfilling the checklist given by their loving mom and dad.
While sitting down to an interview about education in 2018, three academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Yang Huayong, Duan Shumin and Zheng Yuguo, voiced their concerns about extracurricular activities ravaging the childhood of the next generation.
“Excessive intensity of studying could go beyond the children's capacity, which might lead to the weakening of their talents or worse – they might easily get frustrated and hate studying henceforth,” said Zheng.
Duan suggested that the pace of education can be adjusted, allowing kids to have a more relaxed early childhood so that they can master the capacity to learn by themselves during primary education, which is essential for their college years.
“Give kids back their childhood, and allow them to develop comprehensively. They need to have the time and strength to look up to the sky,” said Duan, adding that imagination and creativity are more important in the long term.
It is time to give children back their childhood and a real Children's Day.
CGTN Photo

CGTN Photo

(Graphics by Du Chenxin)