It doesn't happen often, but occasionally
video game-related news can be nothing less than tragic. A 22-year-old mom in Jacksonville, Florida plead guilty this week to second-degree
murder after she shook her baby to death for interrupting her FarmVille game session.
According to the Florida Times-Union (via Huffington Post),
the mother, Alexandra V. Tobias (right), told investigators she became
angry after her 3-month-old baby started crying while she was playing
FarmVille on Facebook. Tobias further explained to investigators that
after she shook her baby once, she "smoked a cigarette to compose
herself and then shook him again." She also said the baby may have hit
his head during the shaking.
Tobias now faces a potential sentence of life in prison, although
state guidelines call for a sentence of 25 to 50 years. The sentencing
hearing is scheduled for December.
The story has shades of another tragic case earlier this year
involving fatal child negligence due in part to online game addiction.
Back in March,
a couple in South Korea was convicted of letting their child starve to
death while obsessively nurturing a virtual child in an online
The vast majority of FarmVille players access the game through
Facebook, where it has 61 million registered users â€“ equivalent to the
entire population of the United Kingdom. Iâ€™m sure most FarmVille players
are just ordinary people passing a bit of time with a fun, animated
game but, like any activity, there will be some who take it to excess.
I have no idea what Tobias is doing now (aside from her court
appearances, that is). I hope she is not still playing FarmVille. But I
canâ€™t help thinking about how a young life has been lost and another one
(the motherâ€™s) permanently damaged.