The creepiest image published this week shows Chinese teenagers hooked up to IV drips in a classroom, feeding amino acids into their bloodstreams so they can concentrate harder on their National College Entrance Exam. The school, in Xiaogong, central China, is unapologetic. Parents ask for the drips, it says, because otherwise their children become exhausted swotting for examinations that will determine the course of their lives.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions. Those ruthless Asians! So this is where the “tiger mom” thing leads – to a jab of the needle to make sure the homework gets done and your son or daughter ends up working for a bank rather than assembling iPhones and thinking about topping themselves.
But hang on. In America between 2003 and 2007, the number of parent-reported cases of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) increased by nearly a quarter. That’s a million extra children taking medicines far, far stronger than amino acids.