Babykiller Gamers

Mike Fahey of Kotaku may be hitting rock bottom. He writes movingly that he can't take it any more, this pattern of stories in which gamers kill their babies

To gain perspective, let's count the babies who have been sent prematurely to their final rest.

  • Globally, since 2001, due to problemtatic game use: 10? 20? (judging from news reports).
  • In England, since 2001, due to abuse and neglect generally: 1,500 (3 per week times ten years; source).
  • In the US, due to abuse and neglect, since 2001: 15,000 (about 1500 annually times ten years; source).
  • In the US, since 2001, due to abortion: 12 million (1.2m per year times ten years; source).

Not sure what it all means, but I'm inclined to think that there is some root cause, or rather a glaring absence, or perhaps presence, of something, in modern culture, that produces both bad gaming and bad parenting. You be the judge!

 

 

 

 

 


Comments on Babykiller Gamers:

Andy Havens says:

They didn't kill their babies because of the games. They killed their babies because they were (pick any combination):

- ignorant/uninformed about caring for children
- violent
- evil
- immature
- frustrated
- exhausted

None of this excuses the behavior. But games were just what they were doing when they lost their temper. Could have been (and has been, in many cases) TV, sleep, poker, sex, etc. that gets interrupted.

Posted Apr 9, 2012 1:49:22 PM | link

Robin Swing says:

What has abortion got to do with it? Used as a comparison?

Posted Apr 9, 2012 4:30:06 PM | link

sniffy says:

Are you suggesting that someone (who gets paid to play & write about video games) might see the entire world through the narrow lens of their own economic self-interest?

I think that pretty accurately describes 99% of everyone paid to write about anything.

Posted Apr 9, 2012 5:01:28 PM | link

Rits says:

An 8 year old is capable of farming gold. A wise gamer would know the point of raising a kid properly.

Posted Apr 10, 2012 1:52:58 AM | link

Tim Ruffles says:

What on earth has abortion got to do with it? I'm sorry, are you equating abortion with 'abuse and neglect'? Nice...

Posted Apr 10, 2012 4:49:09 AM | link

Nonymouse says:

Err, abortion? But... but... what about premature ejaculation and unfertilized ovulation - an even larger comparison number!

Posted Apr 11, 2012 1:21:43 AM | link

Richard Bartle says:

>Globally, since 2001, due to problemtatic game use: 10? 20?

OK, so this is the only figure that actually means anything with respect to a "gamers kill their babies" argument.

>In England, since 2001, due to abuse and neglect generally: 1,500
>In the US, due to abuse and neglect, since 2001: 15,000

So what you're saying is that the number of children (not all of whom are babies) who die as a result of parental abuse in general is several orders of magnitude greater than the number who die because their parents are Gamers Who Game Too Much. Er, OK. That sounds like good news for gamers, then.

>In the US, since 2001, due to abortion: 12 million

Perhaps I'm not au fait enough with the current politics of US abortion rhetoric, but you seem to be equating "baby" with "foetus" and "parent" with "parent-to-be". Is that the general consensus of what these terms mean out there these days?

Richard

Posted Apr 11, 2012 3:30:32 AM | link

Edward Castronova says:

To me, killing the individual filmed here - a 12-week foetus - is child abuse. That's just the way my brain works.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUKwv0YH0ZM

Please stop hating on what is, after all, at the very least a respectable ethical position, even if not one with which you agree. I would understand disagreement. Outrage? C'mon.

Richard, as for general consensus: It's about evenly split (source). Pro-life has gone from about 1/3 of the population to about 1/2 since 1995. It's speculated that this is due to advances in prenatal imagery as well as the ongoing inability of pro-choice experts to coalesce and agree on a moment when cells change from "thing" to "person." Whereas pro-lifers have consistently held that the magic moment is when the cells change from unfertilized to fertilized.

Posted Apr 11, 2012 5:55:23 AM | link

Richard Bartle says:

Ted>To me, killing

To kill something, doesn't it have to be alive first?

>the individual

To be an individual, doesn't it have to be, er, an individual?

>filmed here - a 12-week foetus - is child abuse.

Well if you really do believe that this is a child and you really do believe that it's been killed, you shouldn't be talking about child abuse, you should be talking about murder. In that case, you should be showing us murder statistics and telling is how many people have been murdered as a direct result of people playing games in comparison to how many people have been murdered by non-gamers. I suspect that would come out looking even worse for the non-gamers than the child abuse figures do.

>Please stop hating on what is, after all, at the very least a respectable ethical position, even if not one with which you agree.

It's not one you needed to bring up in the context of this discussion about gamers killing babies though neglect. You just threw it in there. It may be incredibly important to you, but it undermined the point you were trying to make about the low number of gamer-related child abuse cases in the great scheme of things.

>I would understand disagreement. Outrage? C'mon.

Hey, my question was genuine. I don't know what the consensus is out there. The answer to that question may well sadden me, but that's irrelevant here. We're talking about games, not disputed ethical positions.

>Pro-life has gone from about 1/3 of the population to about 1/2 since 1995.

The terms seem to be getting emotive too, by the sound of things. "Pro-life" and "pro-choice" are more confrontational than "anti-abortion" and "pro-abortion". After all, even in the context of abortion someone who is pro-abortion could be generally in favour of life (eg. only abort in cases of incestuous rape) and someone who is anti-abortion could be generally in favour of choice (eg. if you don't want a baby, it's fine to use a condom).

>It's speculated that this is due to advances in prenatal imagery as well as the ongoing inability of pro-choice experts to coalesce and agree on a moment when cells change from "thing" to "person."

In the UK, we do it by viability. If it can survive on its own outside the mother's body, then it doesn't get to be aborted unless the woman's life is at serious risk (fewer than 200 of these happen a year in the UK; late abortion is also a risk to the woman, of course) or it wouldn't be viable for other reasons (eg. no brain). Medical advances are bringing the limit down, but they're getting to the stage where sure, they can keep the newborn alive but it's got a very high chance of dying a few months later after much suffering.

OK, well whatever, my point was that this is not really something that had a place in the discussion because it was pretty well guaranteed to derail it.

Richard

Posted Apr 11, 2012 1:02:56 PM | link

Goran says:

"...If it can survive on its own..."

well, i know 40-year old that can't survive on their own. on other hand, who would want to? it would be downright death by boredom.

the truth is that law is what the people as a group are comfortable with, and not what someone in particular thinks is "right" or "wrong".

Posted Apr 13, 2012 5:43:38 AM | link

McClaud says:

Why are we having an abortion argument again???

Anyway, the reason you see it more nowadays is that the media is focused in exposing more and more deviant behavior by gamers. And there's the Internet, so you hear about it faster/more often.

Doesn't matter what the people were doing, they were bad parents to start with.

Posted Apr 19, 2012 2:59:46 PM | link

anna says:

In my "Technology and Education" class at my college, we actually discussed this topic last week! My class was debating whether or not video games have a positive or negative influence on the audience who plays them. Although I was pro-video games, one of my classmates on the con side used the argument that video games promoted murder/ violence between parents and their children. Her research showed that the violence went both ways: parent to child and child to parent. Her research, however, could not prove that the violence was linked directly to video games. From what I learned in my psychology courses, murderers and abusers have either a chemical imbalance, or some type of personality disorder, or a history of abuse, that causes them to take the actions that they do. So, although playing a video game might have sparked or caused anger to the person, it was most probably not the cause of the violence committed.

Posted May 3, 2012 8:17:45 PM | link