Personal Research — 2019
Personal Research — 2019
I graduated from my undergraduate program and returned to China for work in 2018. My four-year experience studying abroad left me little time for my family; the only way to express my nostalgia was via the little screen of my mobile phone. I cherished the renewed time with my family. We held gatherings every week, an old family tradition, so I had a lot of time with my cousin. We would watch animations and play games, and sometimes I helped her with her homework. As we spent time together, the disparity between our two generations dawned on me. For instance, she showed no interest in the Japanese and Western animations I recommended; rather she was obsessed with Chinese-made animation series. When I was younger, I preferred to spend time with friends in the park, but my cousin would rather play on her iPad. My academic pressure in primary school was imposed by school homework and exams. In contrast, and in addition to completing tasks assigned by the school, my cousin also participated in extracurricular training in English, mathematics, swimming, and modeling each week. This disparity in daily life was striking to me and formed the inspiration for this work.
To gain a more thorough understanding of each generation’s childhood development, I conducted a series of surveys. Statistics showed that as of 2019, nearly 82% of parents were willing to register their children for extracurricular training. Parents’ high expectations became a burden that their children cannot shed. Also, China’s Child Development Report (2019) Children’s Living Conditions Outside School shows that excessive use of electronic products by Chinese children is prominent; they spend 90 to 110 minutes glued to electronic products daily. Due to lack of companionship and the monotony of extracurricular life, a growing number of children are addicted to electronic products, leading to various problems such as poor health, myopia,mental depression, loneliness, autism, and value confusion. Lastly, according to incomplete statistics, in November 2017, the media exposed 15 cases of child abuse in kindergartens. Four cases occurred in Beijing, accounting for 26.67%, while two cases happened each in Jiangsu, Guangxi, and Hubei; Shanghai, Shandong, and Henan each registered one case. In 2017, from November 1 to 28, internet searches for “child abuse in kindergarteners” tallied at 422,606, and searches for “child abuse” ran high at one million searches in seven days.
This cold data reveals that children’s so-called “happy and sound childhood” has been sacrificed. It also represents that multiple problems should be reflected upon and solved in terms of education, safety, and resource allocation in our society today. So, in this project, I designed a book that opens from the middle and narrates the childhood of my cousin and me in chronological order. It covers such aspects as entertainment, education, and the environment. The book encourages readers to flip through its pages to ensure the correlation of each part. Rather than intentionally adding my own voice to the book, I objectively presented the original information to the readers. Despite the possible variation in content, it all purports to contain hidden issues beyond superficial appearances through actions of comparison.