Thursday , March 04, 2010
Cops said a couple addicted to computer games let their real-life baby starve to death while raising a virtual daughter online, The Sun reported.
The couple spent up to 12 hours a day at Internet cafes leaving their 3-month-old daughter home alone at their apartment in Suwon, South Korea.
Cops say the couple had become obsessed with living online and neglected their real lives.
They raised an avatar baby through their profiles on a Second Life-style game called PRIUS, while their real daughter was given just one bottle of milk a day.
Dad Kim Yoo-chul, 41, and mum Choi Mi-sun, 25, called the emergency services when they returned from one online session and found their daughter dead.
But cops became suspicious about how severely dehydrated the tot was.
"She appears to have starved to death because she was not fed for such a long period of time," said a spokesman for the National Scientific Criminal and Investigation Laboratory, which carried out an autopsy on the girl.
Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor, said humans are at a critical moment in society — "when our fascination with online activities is beginning to eclipse our attention to reality."
"I believe that sites like Second Life can cleave vulnerable people from their genuine relationships and emotions and turn them into "pretenders" who live a fake, if not delusional, existence," Ablow said.
"Millions of us are turning into the stars of what amounts to the reality show version of our lives. This is a massive loss of emotional grounding and invites depression, anxiety, drug use and violence."
The girl was initially well-cared for by her grandmother — but her health deteriorated after she moved back in with her parents.
She tragically died in September last year.
Cops tried to arrest the parents, but they disappeared after the baby's funeral.
They caught up with them on Tuesday and they have since been charged with child abuse and neglect.
"Due to our sense of guilt, we have not been to a PC gaming room over these five months," the parents told cops after their arrest.
Online games are massively popular in South Korea.
A 28-year-old man dropped dead recently after playing his favourite game Starcraft for 50 hours non-stop without eating and drinking.