Most of us spend far too much time online. With blogging and googling, twitter and facebook and myspace, we can spend hours upon hours glued to our computer screens, IPhones and other portable methods of accessing the internet. I know I do, and it’s definitely not healthy. In fact, there are many that could legitimately claim being addicted to the internet. I mostly spend time my time researching, blogging and working on my photography, I have little patience for the social networking sites like facebook and twitter, although I do have accounts with both. I never did sign up for myspace, couldn’t be bothered. And though I wouldn’t call myself addicted, there are plenty of people who are– they’re addicted to chatting and computer games all to the detriment of their real lives.
South Koreans are particularly obsessed with the internet, it seems, so much so a government M.P, Lee Joung-Sun has proposed a bill to restrict the amount of time one can spend playing on-line games. There are also
..several bills. pending in the national assembly suggesting restrictions on teenagers’ use of internet cafes and games.
They probably wouldn’t have had to go to such drastic measures had it not been for a slew of bizarre crimes that have been linked to internet addiction, including several murders and deaths. One 28-year-old man, in 2005, died of a heart attack after he played 50 hours straight (without food or water) a game called StarCraft at some local internet cafe.
Then there’s the case of a 22-year-old guy who killed his mother over her complaints about his game playing, and immediately went back to a cafe to finish his game. Or how about the man who got so angered with another player he attacked him after he tracked him down via the game’s chat room.
The latest incident is the most tragic and bizarre, and involves a married couple Kim Yu-Chul and Choi Mi-sun:
South Korean police have arrested a couple for starving their three-month-old daughter to death while they devoted hours to playing a computer game that involved raising a virtual character of a young girl.
The 41-year-old man and 25-year-old woman, who met through a chat website, reportedly left their infant unattended while they went to internet cafes. They only occasionally dropped by to feed her powdered milk.
“I am sorry for what I did and hope that my daughter does not suffer any more in heaven,” the husband is quoted as saying on the asiaone website.
According to the Yonhap news agency, South Korean police said the couple had become obsessed with raising a virtual girl called Anima in the popular role-playing game Prius Online. The game, similar to Second Life, allows players to create another existence for themselves in a virtual world, including getting a job, interacting with other users and earning an extra avatar to nurture once they reach a certain level.
“The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life because they didn’t have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby,” Chung Jin-Won, a police officer, told Yonhap. “They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby.”
Last September after a 12-hour gaming-session the couple came home in the morning to find their daughter dead. The baby’s malnourished body aroused police suspicions of neglect that were was confirmed after an autopsy.
The couple fled to the wife’s parents’ house in Yangju, Gyeonggi province, but were picked up on Monday. The case has shocked South Korea and once again highlighted obsessive behaviour related to the internet.
One has to wonder, though, if they had no jobs how could they afford to pay for 12 hours on the internet? I realize young people have a harder time dealing with addictions, but the father was old enough to know better. A 41-year-old one should know the definition of ‘responsibility’.
I guess they saw their online child as more ideal than their premature real one, because the milk they fed her was often rotten, and they had no compunction about hitting their little girl. What’s truly sad, is that the parents of Kim had been caring for the baby up until 2 weeks prior to her death when they returned her to the couple. There are some people who should just become virtual parents rather than real parents, and I guess this couple would qualify for the former.
Sources guardian.uk and dailymail.uk