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Parents, not games, to blame for youth suicide

Published: Monday, May 15, 2006

Updated: Thursday, September 4, 2008 12:09

In today's world, it is hard to keep track of children every waking moment of the day. Especially now that both parents are working and technology is now becoming a suitable babysitter for the children. However, one would hope that parents would be able to notice if their 13-year-old child was thinking of suicide.

The Associated Press ran a story detailing how the parents of a 13-year-old boy who jumped off a 24-floor building in China after playing the computer game Warcraft for 36 straight hours in 2004 are suing its distributor. The boy's parents are quoted in a Chinese paper saying they were unaware of the violence in the game, since it did not have a warning. However, with a name featuring the word 'war,' violence seems a foregone conclusion.

Though the boy was playing at an Internet café, his parents should still have been keeping a better eye on what their child was doing with his time, especially if he was out of the house for more than a day and a half. Any responsible parent would question a child's whereabouts if he or she was out for more than a few hours.

The uninformed parents are suing the Chinese distributors of the game for 100,000 yuan, or approximately $12,500. They also want a warning label on the game stating the violence inside and the potential health dangers.

However, Bai Jie, the vice president of Aomeisoft, which distributes the game in China, told AP the parents are suing the wrong company, since the one he works for was established eight months after the boy's death.

Not only are the parents suing the incorrect company, they didn't notice the game their son played had intense violence and created suicidal behavior in their child. With more news coming in about the story, the parents continue to seem more ignorant about everything regarding their son.

A child does not just become suicidal after playing a video game. The boy must have had other issues in his life and even some mental health issues that his parents should have seen.

Millions of people are playing video games in China, and even those considered "Internet addicts" are not jumping off buildings.

China, like the United States, should have a rating system in place. However, the best way for parents to be assured their child isn't becoming suicidal is to actually see what games he or she is playing. There shouldn't be a court case against the distribution company - if anything, there should be one against the parents for child neglect.

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