Two schoolgirls committed suicide in an attempt to travel through time, possibly inspired by popular TV shows, according to state-owned newspaper China Daily.
The case brings the issue of time travel-centered television shows back into the spotlight in China, which recently implemented a ban on these types of shows during primetime hours, between 7 and 9 p.m., according to the paper.
China Daily reported that the girls, both fifth-graders at East China’s Fujian province, drowned themselves in a pool, and left behind a suicide note that suggests they were hoping to become time travelers after death.
One of the girls allegedly wrote that she had dreams of traveling back to the Qing Dynasty, and of visiting outer space. The other may have had another motive: She was worried about telling her parents that she had lost the remote control to the garage at their home, the paper reported.
China Daily didn’t name the TV series that may have influenced the girls to commit suicide, but notes that popular shows in the country often incorporate time travel into their storylines. The plot typically involves the death of a character, who then goes on to travel to ancient times.
According to an informal survey by a newspaper in Southeast China, 14 out of 16 elementary school students think time travel is possible, the Wall Street Journal reported. The survey reportedly did not ask if students believed time travel was only possible after death.
According to Sun Yunxaio, deputy director of China Youth and Children Research Center, young viewers reading too much into what they watch on TV is still a problem, she told China Daily.
“Schoolchildren are rich in curiosity but poor in judgment, so this kind of tragedy happens in every era,” Yunxaio said.
“I have heard of children jumping from high buildings after watching an actor flying in a magic show. This kind of imitative behavior is in the nature of young children, but it’s very dangerous. So we should give some sort of warning for children on TV programs.”
How do we know it didn’t work? Just kidding. Very sad.