A Korean couple was so addicted to raising their "virtual child" in a Second Life-style game, they reportedly let their real baby starve to death.
Huffington Post reports that Kim Yoo-chul, 41, and Choi Mi-sun, 25, spent up to 12 hours a day at Internet cafes, leaving their 3-month-old baby home alone. Police say the couple "seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life because they didn't have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby." They raised their 'avatar baby' through their profiles on the Second Life-style game called PRIUS -- while their real daughter was given just one bottle of milk a day. The couple reportedly named their virtual child -- yet never named their real baby, who died of prolonged malnutrition. Online games such as PRIUS are widely popular in Korea.
CNN reports that Professor Kwak Dae-kyung of Seoul's Dongguk University says the couple "appeared to have lost track of reality. Online-game addiction can blur the line between reality and the virtual world. It seems that taking care of their online-game character erased any sense of guilt they may have had for neglecting their [actual] daughter."In related news, a 28-year-old man recently died after playing his favorite game for 50 hours nonstop without eating or drinking.