In the weeks following the brutal massacre of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary, the controversial debate over the relationship between video games and violence has once again been thrust into the limelight. One group in Connecticut is offering kids gifts cards for turning in their violent video games, and Germany has attempted to legally ban violent video games on several occasions.
One father decided to take matters into his own hands after he became worried about his son’s excessive video game playing. So, he hired virtual assassins to hunt down his son’s avatar on online video games — and kill him. The Chinese father, named only as Mr. Feng by the Kotako East blog, was apparently miffed by his son’s video game addiction. According to the blog, Feng’s son Xiao Feng, 23, had terrible grades in school and couldn’t hold down a job, all of which Feng attributed to Xiao’s online gaming. Finally, annoyed that Xiao couldn’t hold down a job at a software development company, Feng took things into his own hands.
Allegedly, Xiao finally asked one of the online gamers why they “kept targeting him.”
While he hoped his actions would deter his son from playing online games, experts aren’t on his side. “It’s not going to do much for family relations,” Professor Mark Griffiths, a gambling and addictions expert at Nottingham Trent University told the BBC.
“I’ve never heard of that kind of intervention before, but I don’t think these top-down approaches work. Most excessive game playing is usually a symptom of an underlying problem.”
Griffiths said he heard from many parents who were worried about their children’s gaming habits, but often it was “not an addiction.”
“I’ve spent 25 years studying excessive video game playing,” he said. Griffiths goes on to say, “I’ve come across very excessive players – playing for 10 to 14 hours a day – but for a lot of these people it causes no detrimental problems if they are not employed, aren’t in relationships and don’t have children.” He adds, “It’s not the time you spend doing something, it’s the impact it has on your life.”
World of Warcraft expert Olivia Grace reports that she doesn’t think Feng’s actions would be a deterrent for Xiao.
“Being killed by someone happens all the time,” she said. “People are just like that online.”
What do you think of this father’s actions? What would you do if your child was spending too much time playing online games?