What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the documentary Love Child raises timely concerns about the dangers of excessive online gaming. Although the topic -- and its broader theme of media overload -- is relevant to the habits of kids today, the content can be upsetting and is geared toward teens and adults. Viewers follow the story of a South Korean couple whose infant daughter died of starvation because of their gaming addictions, and testimonies from detectives, lawyers, and the child's father are disturbing. You'll also see images of the baby after death, though they're blurry and her face is obscured. Some of the game scenes show characters fighting with weapons (guns, knives) and bloodied, and, in one, a young avatar dies. This affecting story is an eye-opening glimpse into the culture of online gamers and the dangers their lifestyle can pose.
What's the story?
The 2010 death of a South Korean baby shed light on the dire consequences of online gaming addiction when she starved while her parents frequented a public game room nearby. LOVE CHILD is a documentary about the tragic death of Sarang -- whose name means "love" in Korean -- and the far-reaching impact of Internet gaming in industry leader South Korea. It juxtaposes interviews with those directly involved in the case, which was the first to suggest gaming addiction as a defense akin to mental illness, with accounts from other professionals and gamers themselves about the benefits and dangers of the hobby.
Is it any good?
The story of Sarang's tragic death sets the stage for a rather disturbing glimpse into the all-consuming world of virtual gaming and its implications for players' real lives. Some experts suggest it's an addiction equal to those of alcohol, drugs, and gambling and should have similar recognition among those proven to carry mental illness status. Others disagree, particularly in the case of the infant's death and the consequences her parents face. The movie doesn't set out to prove one side or the other; rather it provides viewers with copious factors to consider on both sides of the discussion, shared by psychiatrists, journalists, police detectives, and self-identified gaming addicts.
If you've never thought too hard about the effects of the online virtual gaming culture, that's sure to change after watching Love Child. It's easy to see how what starts out as a hobbyist's escape from real life can take on a life of its own in a place where reinvention and reincarnation are the reality. On the other hand, one has to consider the benefits of our access to others through the Internet, even when it comes to online gaming. This methodical documentary touches on all these points and then some in a poignant effort to connect the dots between the explosion of access to mobile technology and the surge of addiction related to virtual gaming.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the benefits of mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets. Which aspects of your life are improved by having constant access to communication and information? In what ways are you safer for it? Happier? More content?
On the other hand, does this kind of constant access complicate your life in any way? Do you ever feel like you can't unplug? Does social media open avenues for negative discourse that affects you in real life? How has the law had to change because of safety issues related to technological advances?
Teens: What's your take on the idea of gaming addiction? How does addiction alter a person's behavior? Is addiction inherently bad, or can you be addicted to a behavior in a positive way?