Tuesday, Mar 03rd

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Virtual Child vs Real Child

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File this under virtual denial, where online reality takes governance over real life reality. In South Korea, a couple has been arrested for starving their 3-month-old daughter while their virtual online child lives and thrives. Sad.

Police have arrested a South Korean couple whose toddler starved to death while they were raising a virtual child online, authorities said.

The couple fed their 3-month-old daughter once a day between marathon stretches in a local Internet cafe, where they were raising a virtual child in the fantasy role-playing game Prius Online, police told local reporters Friday.

Prius Online is a 3-D game in which players nurture an online companion, Anima, a young girl with mysterious powers who grows and increases her skills as the game progresses.

Police have not identified the 41-year-old father and 25-year-old mother, who lived in Suwon, a suburb south of Seoul. But the father apologized, speaking to reporters.

"I wish that she hadn't got sick and that she will live well in heaven forever. And as the father, I am sorry," he said.

The baby reportedly died five months ago.

South Korea has one of the world's fastest broadband networks. Seoul has won international awards for e-governance. Online gaming teams are sponsored by major conglomerates and 24-hour, high-speed Internet cafes, known as PC Bangs, dot every urban neighborhood.

Police said the couple had lost their jobs and used the game as an escape from reality, especially after the birth of their premature baby.

"They instead played an online game in which they raised a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby," Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon, told Yonhap News Agency. Link

This is Sad - we do live in an online world where everything is accessible on the computer - even another life.
I wonder how both set of parents could fall victim to this "virtual addiction"? Usually its one parent that have the problem and the other is left raising the kids and managing the household. Or each parent may have an addiction but their drug of choice are different. Sadly, unlike drugs and alcohol, virtual addiction is not illegal. 
I wonder how many virtual hours you need to be classified as an addict?
Does being on a computer for many hours in a given day count as an addict - whether you're on those virtual reality games or not?

I can see Virtual Anonymous help is on its way to combat this latest addiction.
Finding this help just better not be online. 

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