A couple in China has sparked outrage after they forced their eight-year-old to watch television all night as punishment for watching too much TV.
The parents in central China’s Hunan province had left their son at home, instructing him to finish his homework and sleep by 8.30pm, South China Morning Post reported by citing footage the outlet obtained from inside the home.
But they returned to find their son watching TV and neglected to finish his homework, adding to their anger.
The parents resorted to punishing the boy by telling him to watch TV the entire night and took turns to keep a watch on the child so they could force him to stay awake.
The boy was initially calm and ate snacks while watching TV before he became tired and started crying at around 2am in the night.
The boy dozed off at one point during the night, but his mother forced him to stay awake.
He was not allowed to sleep until 5am, according to the report.
News of the incident, which is being widely circulated on Chinese social media, has triggered a debate with several calling it severe parenting, while others termed it a technique to discipline the child.
“The punishment was too harsh, and what if the boy starts to get used to staying up late?” one commentator said on Weibo.
In August, an eight-year-old boy in Xiamen city of in Fujian province was forced by his mother to collect recyclable rubbish for stealing from his grandmother.
The issue of tough parenting prompted lawmakers to adopt legislation on family education promotion last year.
Under the law, parents and guardians could be reprimanded and ordered to go through family education guidance programmes if prosecutors found any criminal or “very bad behaviour” in their children. It also prohibits parents from using “violence” to educate children on how to behave.