A 9-year-old boy’s heartbreaking essay about his attempts to honor his mother on International Women’s Day going unnoticed because she was fixated on her smartphone all day has gone viral on Chinese social media.
The boy, who along with his family lives in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, wrote about his sad experience as a school writing assignment, but it eventually made its way to the internet where thousands of Chinese netizens commented on the negative impact of smartphones on society, reported the Epoch Times.
The essay read:
“Today is International Women’s Day, so I’d like to thank the hard work my mom does every day and do something for her. First I told her a story, but mama didn’t seem to like it and kept looking at her phone. My mood worsened. Then I thought she might appreciate it better if I were to congratulate her.
“I congratulated my mother, but she still stared at her phone, which made me even sadder. So this doesn’t work either, I thought. I will just have to give her a back massage. So I pounded her back with my best efforts, but she was still looking at her phone without a single smile. I was really sad now, so I decided to wash her feet.
“Only when I washed her feet did she stop looking at her phone. I was a little happier and told her I was doing my best. I wanted to get some praise from her when I finished, but with a serious voice she told me, ‘It’s nice of you to wash my feet today, but you should’ve put more effort into it.’
“I looked at her blankly as she walked out of the room. ‘Hurry up and write your diary!’ she said, before closing the door. This is how I spent my sad International Women’s Day.”
The boy’s essay received over 9 million page views on China’s Sina Weibo social media site less than 24 hours after it was posted, reported Taizhou Evening News.
“When I read my son’s diary, I looked at my husband and we broke out laughing, but I immediately felt ashamed,” the child’s mother, surnamed Zhao, told Taizhou Evening News.
Zhao said that she and her husband are often distracted by games and social media on their phones and that she is sometimes irritable when her son asks her for homework help.
“I didn’t realize that my behavior was having such a big influence on my son’s growth,” Zhao said, adding that she would try to spend less time on her phone and more time with her son.
Students at the same school Zhao’s son attends were also interviewed by Taizhou Evening News. Seventy percent of the students said their parents also seemed addicted to their phones.
“They look at their phones when eating, when I do homework, and even when lying in bed before going to sleep,” one student said.
A first-grade student said: “I think my mom likes her cellphone more than me and she pays more attention to it.” She said that her mother sometimes ignores her cries when she is looking at her phone.
China is the world’s largest market for smartphones, with almost one cellphone for each of its 1.3 billion citizens.
A Chinese study released last year claimed that cell phone addictions were hurting the country’s families.