I can’t get over how obsessed people get over things. A mother forbids her 18 year old son from using MySpace and his reaction? He cuts her wrist when she tries to take his cell phone and then makes a getaway on a bicycle. He did not get far.
It’s worse when stupidity becomes tragedy, though – like Tyrone Spellman who brutally killed his own toddler after she accidentally knocked his Xbox over. He’s been convicted of third degree murder which could keep him behind bars for up to 47 years, apparently. I wonder how he feels about that.
More recently comes the story from Ontario about a fifteen year old boy whose parents insisted he spend less time playing Call of Duty 4 on the same game system. The argument escalated on Thanksgiving Day (Oct 13th) and he left the house. After several weeks of searching for him, including rewards (including $50,000 donated by Microsoft) they’ve found some remains that might be his.
I didn’t think that would end well.
Is internet obsession a new psychological disorder? It sure could be.
Dr. Jerald Block of the Oregon Health and Science University says that American psychiatrists need to learn how to treat the disorder, which he prefers to call Pathological Compulsive Disorder.
That article has some information about the obsession and its effects in South Korea – it’s a real problem there.
Internet obsession has led to 10 cardiopulmonary deaths in Internet cafes and one game-related murder.
The problem is more public there. Visiting one Internet cafe for research, he saw about 30 kids completely immersed in the virtual world of Internet games.
“Not one person looked up while I was taking photographs,” Block said, adding that South Korea considers Internet obsession among its most serious public health issues.
In his editorial, Block said that the South Korean government has estimated that around 210,000 South Korean children are Internet obsessed and require treatment. About 80 pecent of those needing treatment may require psychotropic medications, and around 20 percent need hospitalization.
Block also stated that despite cultural differences, American and Korean case descriptions are very similar. He said that as of June 2007, South Korea has trained over a thousand counselors and enlisted over 190 hospitals and treatment centers in order to deal with this disorder.
Here’s more bizarreness – remember that Gary Larsen cartoon where the parents are dreaming that their Nintendo obsessed boy will be able to get kick-ass jobs if he can use that as experience? I don’t remember which book it might have been in, unfortunately, but while hunting, I found another stupid thing – parents let their kid drop school for Guitar Hero. He hopes to win big in tournaments and managed to win $1000 by the time the article came out.
Maybe he’s not so weird, he’s just in the wrong country. In Korea:
Professional video gamers are among the biggest celebrities in the country. Some fan clubs of South Korea’s top gamers have more than 700,000 members. By comparison, the fan club for South Korea’s most famous singer has approximately 510,000 members (Aleksandar, 12). Gaming competitions are so popular that the finals of top Starcraft tournaments are held in stadiums, often with tens of thousands of screaming fans in attendance (Schiesel, 2).
The salaries these gamers can earn are astronomical. In 1999, for example, a Canadian Starcraft champion took a job as a professional player in South Korea and was offered a $100,000 initial salary. Several years later he was a star making an estimated $500,000 per year. The average annual salary in Korea is $16,291 (Hua, 1). In 2004, Lee Yun Yeol, a respected video game champion, signed a three-year, 600 million won contract. By comparison, the average salary for a Korean professional baseball player is 71 million won (Aleksandar, 10).
They have television stations devoted to matches. Whole stations. For people playing video games.
Granted, it does take some brains for the strategy aspects of games like Starcraft (at which I suck) but what are the games good for beyond that?
Guitar Hero kid isn’t an actual guitar player so he’ll never have a band where he could actually make money making real music. He’s stuck slapping buttons in time with a screen and his parents seem to support his decision to be an undereducated moron.
Then there’s all the people who avoid their first life by living vicariously in a Second. Of course, there are people making money playing that, too. Real money. Like, actually becoming a first life millionaire. Nobody pays a person to get hooked on cigarettes but earned Linden dollars can become American dollars if enough time and effort is invested. Paid to play. That’s quite an incentive to stick around.
But, the majority of gamers and on-line addicts will never get rich off their habits.