Gaming and the Rise of Child Neglect

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

Video games can be incredibly engaging and lifelike, drawing users in like nothing else can. It can be fun and elicit a lot of different emotions in gamers and when used in excess, the real world begins to melt away. Responsibilities can be ignored, personal hygiene often goes neglected, and unfortunately, children can be forgotten about.

In fact, earlier this year a child in England was taken into care after the child was found neglected when the parents spent too much time on video games. (1) Another instance last year occurred when a couple tried to sell their children to traffickers in China with the goal to get money to pay for game purchases. (2) Another report showed that a two month old baby was abandoned and died and the parents went on to play games at Internet cafes. Again in 2014, a man in Florida admitted to suffocating his crying baby so he could continue to play Xbox. (3)

Video games stimulate the mind with realistic, engaging content. In addition, video games stimulate the body to release arousing hormones like adrenalin and pain killing hormones. Video games can be a digital painkiller, or digital narcotic, that resulted in tendon rupture associated with excessive play on a smartphone. (4-5) Similar to addictive drugs, gaming is capturing the minds of young and old people alike, across the world. For some people, gaming has become a compulsive need, and an addiction for about 1 in 11 gamers. Once addicted, they simply cannot play in moderation. When other things are being neglected, whether it is personal hygiene, housework, bills, or children in the home, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Addressing mental illness is a large part of getting control of gaming addiction, but implementing other restrictions is also a huge part of it. Education about the affects of video games on the mind and body is key in the reduction of video game addiction.

Technology and gaming addictions are a very real thing that is changing the way our world interacts with one another. If you or your family is being affected by this type of addiction, it’s imperative to seek help immediately. 

Online resources about video game addiction:



1. “Walsall child in care over parents’ gaming.” Express & Star. August 25, 2015.

2. 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. 

3. “Florida man suffocated crying son to play Xbox video games, deputies allege.” Orlando Sentinel. News Service of Florida. April 18, 2014. Accessed online April 18, 2014.

4. Gilman L, Cage DN, Horn A, Bishop F, Klam WP, Doan AP. Tendon rupture associated with excessive smartphone gaming. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jun;175(6):1048-9. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.0753.

5. Candy Crush Marathon Sends Gamer to Hospital: Ruptured extensor pollicis longus tendon.