15 January 2011

Facebook, Cafe World, and Addiction...

This is a truly sad story. A mother, Shannon Johnson, in Colorado has admitted to police that she was busy playing Cafe World on Facebook, checking out her news feed, and sharing a few online videos while her one-year-old son was drowning in the bath.

According to Johnson's confession, her son was in the bath for a total of ten minutes, and she checked on him once. Then, when she did not hear any sounds coming from the bathroom she thought she better check again. When she did, she found her son with his face submerged. After that the confession to police gets a little weird. When the police asked her why she would leave her one-year-old in the bath by himself, she reportedly said she:

"didn't want him to be known as a mama's boy."

On a personal level, I find it hard to comprehend. Perhaps I am over-protective or something, but there is no way that Will, even at two-years-old, stays in the bath by himself while I go off to check my email or make a cup of tea or whatever.

Then again, maybe this story says something about the "dangers" of a technology addiction, in this case to Facebook and Cafe World. Just like any other addiction, it has a way of messing with one's priorities and skewing the understanding of what is important.

When one thinks of internet game addictions you normally think of children spending hours or days non-stop on games like "World of Warcraft" (or whatever it is that is popular now). However, it would seem that it is not only children that suffer from this.

In South Korea a couple was found guilty of starving their baby to death. What was truly bizarre in that case was that the couple were raising a virtual child in a video game and doing a reasonable job at it.

I wonder if this is going to become an increasing more acute and severe problem in the future? And, assuming that it is, I wonder how governments are going to deal with internet addiction? Legislation? Counselling?

The mind boggles.

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