Can you imagine neglecting your own child in favor of a virtual one? A South Korean couple did exactly that, and their 3-month-old daughter died of malnutrition. The dad, 41, and mom, 25, both unemployed and depressed, spent long periods of time at an Internet cafe preoccupied with their online child and only fed their human preemie once a day. A report said:
The couple had become obsessed with nurturing a virtual girl called Anima in the popular role-playing game Prius Online, police said on Friday. The game enables players to interact with Anima and as they do so, help her to recover her lost memory and develop emotions.
The parents have since been arrested. While this is an extreme and devastating example, it begs a question about technology. More than ever, parents have the power to stay connected on gaming and social networking sites. And, what starts out as a few minutes online can quickly turn into hours. Do you think today's kids will be adversely affected by all the time their moms and dads spend on the computer?