Quarantined Wuhan students find clever way to try to shut down homework app

You can halt travel, you can impose a quarantine, but you can't stop kids from doing what they do best: Avoiding homework.
Children in China weren't quite ready to start school again.
Children in China weren't quite ready to start school again. Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Amidst the coronavirus outbreak and a government-mandated quarantine, schools across China have been suspended indefinitely. While a lot of uncertainty surrounds the illness, the actions of quarantined children in Wuhan province shows that one thing is sure: Kids will be kids, no matter what.

In an effort to continue educating children in China, an app called DingTalk introduced new features to fill the gap. Children were supposed to use the app to join classes for online lessons, and teachers could assign homework through it.

According to a London Review of Books article, "Somehow the little brats worked out that if enough users gave the app a one-star review it would get booted off the App Store. Tens of thousands of reviews flooded in, and DingTalk’s rating plummeted overnight from 4.9 to 1.4."

According to technology news website TechNode, the app was initially used by over 600,000 teachers and more than 50 million students. However, once the rumor about low reviews got out, the app was inundated with one-star reviews.

The app, which was founded in 2014, currently has 2.2 stars on the Apple App Store.

The app itself quickly pleaded for mercy on social media, according to the London Review of Books, with one post saying, "I'm only five years old myself, please don't kill me." A music video was also published and live-streamed on Chinese site Bilibili. The lyrics begged for better reviews and included comments like "I know guys, you were not expecting such a productive holiday," and "Please don't give me any more one-star ratings. I was chosen for this job and there is not much I can do about it."

China isn't the only country to suspend schools during the coronavirus outbreak. Japan and Italy have suspended classes as the disease continues to spread; several United States schools have made the independent decision to close as their student bodies report the illness.