Two recent conversations with executives of Chinese-facing companies, one big in games, the other in online education, were both edged by an ulcerative summer that challenged Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two suspect they are now dealing with the fiercest tiger parent in the world.
The first was a discussion on China has suddenly declared war on the games and its ban in August for players under the age of 18 from playing more than three hours a week. Draconian stuff, no doubt. Virtually difficult to apply, some say. But it is clearly part of the social engineering ambitions of the common prosperity of the communist parties where many of its regulatory cards remain unrevealed and unplayed.
At the same time, it shouldn’t have been completely unexpected. China’s restrictions on screen time, while appealing and overwhelming to stock prices, may represent just an extreme version of a policy that other governments and future loving parents might wish. have the dictatorial blows to impose. Some gaming industry analysts have warned that something similar could happen after the World Health Organization added gambling disorder to its international classification of diseases in 2018.
Could China’s aggression on the gaming industry have arisen, I asked, because companies have deliberately coded for addiction as well as attractiveness of their products? No way, ran the gaming executive smoothly: The industry would be crazy to do such a thing if it meant putting the next generation of gamers at risk for their health.
This line stood out not because it sounded dishonest (which it did) but because of the latest industry that relied on its questionable logic. When the big tobacco companies started rolling out versions of this argument in the 1980s and 1990s, it was because they knew the jig was in place and the global toll would come now.
If China succeeded in enjoining its national game companies more than 200 of them to bend and commit to a new self-regulatory regime last Friday so that they even unconsciously describe themselves via the lexicon of relations public smoking, it is reasonable to assume that the three-hour rule might apply.
The conversation with the head of the online tutoring company, meanwhile, naturally focused on China. crackdown on the $ 120 billion private education sector. Some time has been spent discussing the ingenuity that is now likely to be applied. He then turned to the issue of tiger parents and who, between the Communist Party and millions of tiger octane families of fear and aspiration, made a better relentless tyrant in the lives of the children. Xi, she argued, did not want to destroy the tigers, but to outshine them.
The thought seemed counterintuitive. The avowed intention of China’s slaughter on the tutoring industry is to eliminate the inequalities and financial burdens of an educational arms race, the very scene of the war in which tiger parents are forged. The more disadvantaged these parents are in the long run, according to the next level of justification, the less likely middle-class couples will see themselves having larger families. Tiger parents, especially the wealthiest and therefore the most powerful, seem to be the enemy here. Without doubt, they are the model.
So far, the government’s rhetoric, both on games and private lessons, may be about whether to unify the educational battlefield, free up time, improve family life and generally recoup the combined billions of hours per week that children lose to extra games or lessons. But don’t expect it to last. Games can be, in the eyes of some generations, a waste of time, and private lessons can be extremely overwhelming and unfair, but at least they have kept huge numbers of young people occupied in a way that neither the facilities of the game. ‘State nor an idyll of family life can not immediately correspond. The government has so far been vague on how exactly it thinks the newly freed up time should be spent.
But Xi, the tutor of the tutoring company suspects, must have something more concrete in mind. His ambitions for the state have two striking parental characteristics: the belief that ambition is something to be imposed rather than fostered, and the fear that inaction will inevitably lead to something undesirable.
Companies and investors, who died in a few weeks the fate of the real estate sector, seen crypto-currencies made illegal and watched the entertainment industry handcuffed by new rules cringe at the prospect of Beijing’s next surprise that will change the landscape. How the state decides that children’s free time should be spent is extremely important in the longer term.
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