Unbelievable. Sometimes an article’s headline and lede simply say it all. From De Standaard:
Gamers’ baby dies of starvation
SUWON – A South Korean couple let their three-month-old daughter starve while together they were busy raising a virtual daughter on-line.
The villain of this particular piece was Second Life (yes, I’ve included a link to it there for you – for goodness’ sake, be careful!), which essentially is an on-line virtual world where you create your own character (“avatar”) and then wander around interacting with other avatars and doing various other things. Well, OK, I think we can agree that the actual villains were the parents, named Kim Yoo-chul and Choi Mi-sun, who the article says were given to spending up to 12 hours daily down at the local Internet café, living their “second lives” – which apparently included a virtual daughter – and in the meantime simply leaving their real-life daughter back home by herself.
Until the day when they came back home and found that daugher dead – of starvation (and also dehydration, of course), according to the autopsy. The two parents are now under arrest, and have sworn off playing any more Second Life – so they say.
South Korea is said to be the world’s most “wired” land, with the most operational high-speed DSL connections per-capita*. But maybe this isn’t always such a good thing – the Standaard article also mentions at the end another South Korean 28-year-old dude who recently died after playing Starcraft (yes, I’ve included a link to it there for you – for goodness’ sake, be careful!) for 50 hours straight, without eating or drinking.
*Of course, the parents here did not happen to have one of those many DSL connections at home, but had to go to the Internet café. One therefore wonders whether this tale could have had a somewhat happier ending had they been able to afford a home connection (you know, rousing themselves away from the computer to the child’s screams of hunger) – that Wikipedia article says it’s easy to sign up there for 100 mbps (!) downstream for less than the equivalent of $50.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I’m afraid the link to the original De Standaard article provided in this post no longer works – see my UPDATE at the end of this later blogpost if you want further discussion.
FURTHER UPDATE: Never mind, the De Standaard permalinks are back. Sorry, I don’t know what happened, I just know that for a while they were dead.