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Amid Coronavirus Lockdown, Chinese Kids Escape Homework by Giving Bad Reviews to Learning App

Representative image

Representative image

In the absence of schools, Wuhan's children were being taught their courses online and being assigned homework by their teachers using the DingTalk app.

While the coronavirus outbreak has left adults scared and many sick, children in China seem to be making the best of the pandemic with "novel" ways to get out of doing homework.

In China's Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak where schools are under lockdown amid a city-wide quarantine, children have managed to shut down a homework app called DingTalk by downvoting it on the app store.

DingTalk is an online teaching and homework app that sets homework assignments for children. In the absence of schools, Wuhan's children were being taught their courses online and being assigned homework by their teachers using the app. Wuhan's children, however, turned out to be much more enterprising than teachers and parents had expected.

The children somehow realized that the app, which was available on app stores, would get booted out of the store if they send in enough negative reviews. Soon, the app's pages flooded with fake bad reviews, causing it to be thrown out of the store, a report in London Review of Books said.

Following the reviews, DingTalk's ratings fell from 4.9 to 1.4 in just a matter of days, the report said.

One of the reviews on the app's Apple app store read, "Imagine having to do homework while you’re possibly going to die from a disease". Yet another reviewer wrote "I really want to give you five stars but I don’t like give it at once. I will give it to you for five times". and one review simply read, "I downloaded this app just to give it a one star".

The crisis for DingTalk, owned by the Alibaba Group, was such that the app even took to social media to request the children to stop the mischief. Nevertheless, many on social media celebrated the children's victory in beating the homework app.

Following the fall in the app's ratings, fans and supporters tried to help out with five star reviews, bringing its rating up to two out of five on the Apple App Store and 2.5 on Google Play Store. "If the students don’t like studying, but please do not hurt this app!" a reviewer wrote.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused the death of over 3,000 people in China. With Wuhan under total lockdown, quarantined locals have been taking to social media platforms like TikTok to showcase bits of life under lockdown.