Online gaming Is fun and an escape from reality, but when it becomes your reality at the expense of you family Its an issue that needs to be dealt with. When it becomes life threatening then its a crime. No child should be neglected because you cant drag yourself away from the computer to see to their basic needs.
A Couple have been accused of starving their two-year-old daughter after becoming obsessed with the online video game Second Life.
Mark Knapp, 48, and wife, Elizabeth Pester, 33, from Tulsa, USA, were charged with child neglect and abuse after the girl was rushed to hospital weighing just 5.8 kilograms. The average two-year-old should weigh between ten and fifteen kilograms, depending on their height.
The girl was admitted to St Francis Hospital in a critical condition on Tuesday, with detective Denielle Bishop telling Newson6 that on top of being severely underweight, she could not walk, move or talk.
“My gut feeling is the child probably never left the apartment” she said.
“She can’t walk, they claim that she can crawl, the back of her head is completely flat.”
Hospital staff alerted authorities after Knapp and Pester told them they would be back on Thursday to check on the girl, despite living just around the corner. When local police arrived at the house, Knapp reportedly asked them if they were there because their daughter died. They were found playing Second Life.
The couple are previously known to authorities, having had their daughter taken from them in June 2012 for being underweight. She was returned to them in July 2012 on the condition that she would attend weekly weigh-ins, which did not happen.
Pester, whose avatar is a blonde DJ, allegedly rescheduled her daughter’s appointments around her performances as a virtual DJ in Second Life.
The couple are being held in Tulsa county jail on a US$50,000 bond each. The little girl is still in hospital in a critical condition.
The case is eerily similar to the 2010 case involving Korean couple Kim Yoo-chul and Choi Mi-sun, who raised an avatar baby through their profiles on a Second Life-style game called PRIUS. They were both charged with child abuse and neglect when their obsession with another world lead to their real daughter dying at three months of age.
- Parents accused of starving toddler (wwlp.com)
- TPD: Parents arrested for starving child (kjrh.com)
- Child starved while parents played (adelaidenow.com.au)