Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Girl starved to death while parents raised virtual child in online game

Now here is a warning shot across the bow of viritual 'life games' such as Second Life - the possibility of escapism from real life with threatening consequences:

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."

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