Online gaming is just some harmless fun, a way to pass the time or hang with friends. Right? Unfortunately, for some, Internet game addiction has taken a darker turn as shown in an upcoming HBO documentary—“Love Child.”
Exploring the tragic consequences and dangers of online gaming for one young, South Korean couple and their baby, the “Love Child” documentary will no doubt contribute to society’s ongoing discussion of how technology is changing us for the good and for the bad. A thorough discussion on addiction and substance abuse in general can also contribute to a great research paper topic.
The story behind the “Love Child” documentary
A South Korean couple were arrested in March 2010 after their three-month-old baby starved to death. The reason for the parents’ neglect? They were heavily involved with online gaming. “‘Love Child’ Examines Death Linked to Game Addiction” posted by Jeyup S. Kwaak January 10, 2014, on The Wall Street Journal’s blog, shared more details.
The couple actually made their living through the online role-playing game. They had met online, and looked to that world for acceptance when their parents did not approve of their marriage. Part of the game they were involved in included caring for an online child. Gaming is extremely popular in South Korea, with “PC bang,” or PC rooms (communal cyber cafés), everywhere. The husband received a two-year sentence, while the wife (who was pregnant with their second child) received a three-year suspended sentence.
Kwaak wrote, “In South Korea, equipped with the world’s fastest broadband connection, videogame addiction has been a nationwide debate for years. Last year, an addiction law introduced in parliament included videogames alongside alcohol, drugs and gambling.”
Online gaming a growing epidemic
Internet gaming addition is a huge and growing problem in South Korea. As a result, the country has begun to focus more on the dangers of online gaming. According to a July 9, 2014, post, “Documentary ‘Love Child’ to Premiere July 28 on HBO,” by Sara Bibel on the website, TV by the Numbers, “A reported two million people suffer from gaming addiction in South Korea.” The case against the couple marked the first involving Internet addiction. The couple were deemed to be mentally ill as a result of their addiction to online gaming, so they received more lenient sentences.
The HBO documentary aims to raise awareness around the issue of online gaming addiction, which has worldwide reach. Bibel also wrote that there is a movement in the United States to have an entry for Internet addiction added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
While the “Love Child” documentary is sure to spark conversation among fans of online gaming, as well as its detractors, one game creator has already weighed in. Dong Nguyen, the man behind the popular Flappy Bird app, released in 2013, apparently became concerned about the addictive nature of the game. He made the decision in early 2014 to pull the game. Fans of the game were very upset, and Nguyen even received death threats.
“Trending: Rachel Kilroy: Creator Says His Game Too Addictive” a post to News Sentinel February 15, 2014, shared more about Nguyen’s decision and its consequences. The article stated, “When a game is easy to play, it will be tempting for some people to play in certain situations that could be dangerous, such as when walking or driving.” The article also added, “Nguyen made a smart, selfless decision by pulling the app.”
Although Nguyen’s game was a different style of game from the one behind the HBO documentary “Love Child,” the dangers of online gaming are the same no matter what is being played—a disengagement from reality to the detriment of yourself or others.
What are the dangers of online gaming? Do you think Internet game addiction is a real problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.