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Farmville implicated in Florida baby-murder case

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It's all over the news - again - a young child has died, and his mother's addiction to video games is being blamed. Alexandra Tobias, a 22-year old Florida mother, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder over the January death of her three-month old son Dylan.

Originally telling police that her dog knocked the baby off of a couch, when he hit his head and stopped breathing, Alexandra later confessed that she had been busily playing Facebook game Farmville when the baby started crying.

Frustrated by the interruption, she picked the child up and shook him so violently she needed a cigarette afterward to calm her nerves. She claims she later shook him again - and is unsure at what point the child hit his head but explains it may have been on the edge of her computer monitor.

Ms. Tobias explains that her mental state at the time had been seriously affected by the then-recent death of her mother, something the prosecution are taking into consideration, as well as the fact that her guilty plea will save the family the emotional anguish of reliving the incident through a jury trial.

"Ever since I found my mother dead, I just haven't been the same."

State guidelines call for 25 to 50 years jail for second-degree murder charges in Florida, and Ms. Tobias will be sentenced in December.

This is not the first case where a virtual game has lead to a child's death - earlier this year, in May, a South Korean couple addictively played an online game, raising a virtual child while their real-life newborn daughter starved.

This story was featured in Episode 7 of GamePron News:

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2 Responses to “Farmville implicated in Florida baby-murder case”

  1. […] there), a few Halloween celebrations you shouldn’t miss, and another tragic incident is blamed on videogames rather than bad […]

  2. Jilly says:

    I’m not a medical professional, so I’m in no position to decide whether video game addiction is real or just an offensive technique used by defence lawyers. Either is possible and I simply don’t know which it is.

    But what I do know is that if you’re capable of shaking your baby because it dared to cry when you were playing a game, there’s something very wrong with you in the first place. There’s no such thing as the perfect parent and I’d like to meet any parent who hasn’t felt angry with their baby at some stage. That’s perfectly natural. But there’s nothing natural about acting on that anger. The very idea of any harm coming to your child, much less inflicting that harm yourself, should make you feel physically sick.

    Blaming this on the video game is far too easy. The video game was simply the medium and it could so easily have been a book or a TV program. You don’t see any childrens charities flying the banner for video games to be banned and that’s because nothing would change. Poor parenting or, indeed, a complete lack of it will come to the surface however it can.

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