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Kid's desert walk exploitation, not character building

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-15 09:41

A 42-YEAR-OLD TV ANCHOR shared his 4-year-old daughter's physical exercises and willpower training on his micro-blog account, after taking her on a 76-kilometer walk through a desert in Gaotai, Northwest China's Gansu province, over four days. People's Daily comments:

Although he insists it was character building and aimed at cultivating his daughter's independence and hardworking spirit, the father's self-designed educational method is controversial and considered abuse by some as the amount and intensity of the exercise seem too extreme for a 4-year-old.

As the video shows many of the 30 kids on the walk were exhausted after walking four days and camping three nights in the wild. The anchor's daughter, one of the youngest, looked worn out, even swaying a little when she crossed the finish line.

He also said she was happy at first, then wanted to quit, and finally managed to finish the journey with his encouragement.

The anchor said he saw many children living in mountain villages walk much longer distances in a day without complaining, so it is ok for his daughter to take part in the activity.

This shows a prevalent problem with family education in China, especially among well-off urban parents, who make the decision in lieu of their children, often against the children's will and against the advice of experts.

The summer vacation is a time when many children take extracurricular classes and take part in training programs, many of which are not their cup of tea, but rather their parents' choice. Even parents cannot deny that classes and training forced on children stifle the youngsters' thirst for knowledge and arts at an early age.

Also, as a commercial activity that enjoyed a lot of media exposure because of the participation of some entertainment celebrities, the "Father take me to desert" activity is suspected of exploiting children for profit. Many similar reality shows using children's innocence as a selling point have been banned by the education and media authorities.

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