A father in Shenzhen, China, recently made headlines for his unusual disciplinary method after catching his 11-year-old son playing games on his smartphone at 1 am instead of sleeping for school. Rather than confiscating the device, the father, referred to as Mr. Huang, forced his child to play smartphone games for 17 consecutive hours without sleep. The punishment aimed to teach the boy a valuable lesson on the importance of rest and the potential consequences of smartphone abuse.

The boy reported that his father initiated the punishment shortly after discovering his late-night gaming. Mr. Huang pulled his son out of bed and sat him in a chair, demanding that he play his smartphone games repeatedly for 17 hours straight. Video footage of the punishment showed the boy struggling to stay awake, dozing off multiple times, only to be awakened by his father.

In a note later shared globally, the boy described the experience, writing, “So my dad found out. Then my father punished me. Let me play enough. Play until vomit.” The father hoped that the punishment would drive home the point that playing games at night, especially when a child should be getting rest, could be harmful.

The father refused to end the punishment until the boy broke down in tears and agreed to a strict schedule for using his smartphone. The new agreement limited the amount of time the child would be allowed to play games or use his smartphone device at night.

The boy continued, “Well, I was woken up several times. It’s going to be all day anyway. From 1 am to 6 pm. Just played for 17 hours.”

In his pledge, the boy committed to finishing schoolwork and homework, exercising, and reading for half an hour after dinner before showering, brushing his teeth, and getting a good night’s sleep before 11 pm. He promised not to play with his phone before bedtime, nor read, nor play with toys.

The father recorded the punishment and shared it on Douyin, a Chinese app similar to TikTok. However, he did not encourage other parents to replicate his disciplinary methods.

While the father’s actions might seem extreme, some experts believe that setting limits on screen time and technology use for children is crucial. Many studies suggest that children who excessively use technology have difficulty sleeping, experience mood swings, and may have difficulty socializing with others. Parents must ensure their children receive enough sleep and rest for their physical and mental health.

Experts recommend that parents set screen time limits and encourage alternative activities such as outdoor play, reading, and creative hobbies. Parents should also establish device-free zones in the home and engage in open communication with their children about technology use and its potential consequences.

The boy wrote, “I promise: after school home, after dinner, began to write the day, the teacher assigned homework and dad assigned homework. After doing exercise and reading for half an hour, I finished eating fruit, showering, brush teeth, sleep. I promise I must go to be before eleven o’clock. Promise not to play with the phone before going to bed, not to read, not to play with toys.”

Ultimately, while Mr. Huang’s disciplinary actions may have been unconventional, the lesson he hoped to impart on his son – the importance of rest and responsible technology use – is one that all parents should take seriously. By setting clear guidelines and communicating openly with their children, parents can help their kids develop healthy habits and relationships with technology.