Chinese couple sells newborns to support gaming habit

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

A recent news report by Games in Asia shows that a Chinese couple addicted to online gaming, sold their two newborns to help pay for their addiction.  The babies were unplanned and the couple reported to Guangdong TV that they decided to sell the children to child traffickers in China. They admitted that they were addicted to playing online games, many of which are free. However, after getting to certain levels in the game, players can spend money on weapons and other armor.  The father said that he stays out all night at internet cafes and the mother went on to admit that when they sold their children to traffickers, they used the money to pay for the in-game purchases. The couple’s family turned them into local authorities and they were arrested. They are now awaiting trial. (1)  

Internet addiction – especially gaming addiction— in Asian countries is very common. In fact, South Korea recently considered enacting a game addiction law that would require regulation on video games, considering them as addictive substances, such as alcohol or drugs.  (2) And unfortunately, technology/Internet addicts that go to extreme measures to support their habit is not uncommon. In 2013, another Chinese couple was reported to have sold their child to traffickers to pay for an iPhone. And another report showed that the parents of two month old baby abandoned the child to play in internet cafes, and the child consequently died. 

Gaming is capturing the minds of people young and old alike, all of the world.  It’s important to note that playing video games in moderation is not a problem.  But when gaming becomes a compulsive need and other things are being neglected, there is a serious problem. Because of the extreme situations that have happened because of gaming addiction, countries are now being forced to find ways to help stop addiction and get people on the road toward recovery. Implementing legal restrictions could be a helpful way to help those that struggle with gaming addiction. In addition, addressing mental illness is another huge part of getting control of gaming addiction. Another huge part of stopping gaming addiction is setting strict rules with children on what games they are allowed to play and how long they are allowed to play them.  

Technology and gaming addiction is very real and affecting the lives of many individuals and families all over the world. If you believe you or someone you love is experiencing addiction, it is imperative to seek help immediately. 

1. Kosoff, Maya. “A Chinese Couple Reportedly Sold Their Two Children to Fund Their Internet Gaming Addictions.” Business Insider. July 11, 2014.
Accessed November 25, 2014. 


2. Fingas, Jon. “South Korea debates the wisdom of a video game addiction law.” June 23, 2014.