The tragedies of gaming addiction

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

A recent news report explains that an eight month old little boy drowned in a bathtub because his father neglected him while playing Call of Duty. The 24-year old father told authorities that he was playing and it was taking longer than expected for his player to “die.” He left his baby in the bathroom and continued to play video games and after an hour of trying to resuscitate him, cops at the scene pronounced the baby dead. The father ended up pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and will spend three years in prison. (1)  

Video game tragedies like this happen more often than you might think. People neglect themselves all the time when they are in the midst of an intense gaming session, but when it carries over to their children, things can get deadly. One mother in New Mexico is serving 25 years in prison because her three year old daughter died after starving. While her mom chatted online in fantasy role-playing games, the girl was left without food and water continuously and was left to eat cat food. She eventually died of dehydration and malnutrition. (2) 

These two sad stories are just a glimpse of the ugly reality of what gaming addiction can do to a family. Gaming addiction tears families apart. It sometimes has devastating, even deadly consequences. To a gaming addict, the real world is secondary. The digital world becomes their life, their reality, and it is their highest priority. The digital world is what gives a gaming addict their sense of self-worth. 

Is someone you love struggling with gaming addiction? Are you noticing that they are starting to neglect important areas of their life, including the care of themselves or their family members? Or, is it you that is struggling with gaming addiction? Video game and technology addiction is very real and requires immediate, professional help. For more information, visit Staff. “Dad plays video game while infant son drowns in tub.” Nancy Grace. January 9, 2014. Accessed online February 5, 2014.

2.Associated Press. “New Mexico mom gets 25 years for starving daughter.” Fox News. June 3, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2014.


By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Doan, MD PhD