This story falls under so many categories: child abuse, parenting, addiction to online games and social media sites – and while the first two are the most important issues and the obvious, it’s important to note that social media can be just as harmful to adults, as it is to kids.
According to the NY Daily News, a Colorado mother faces almost 50 years in prison for allowing her infant son to drown in a bathtub while she was playing the game Café World on Facebook in the next room.
Shannon Johnson, 34, was arrested earlier this month and charged with recklessly causing the death and child abuse, according to police in Weld County, Colo.
According to an affidavit, Johnson left her 13-month-old son alone in the bathtub. She said she was giving the child a bath in the morning after breakfast, and that the water level was a little higher than usual, but she figured it was safe.
She then went into the next room and logged onto Facebook, according to police. She told police that she heard the boy splashing around in the tub as she played her video game on Facebook. She checked on the infant once and returned to her game. According to CNN, a few minutes passed when she stopped hearing playing sounds, and she went into the bathroom and found the child slumped over in the tub. Johnson called 911, and the boy was airlifted to a Denver-area hospital, where he later died.
So we know this is child abuse, neglect and bad parenting without a doubt. But was playing a game on Facebook an addiction? What was so important about this game that it couldn’t have waited until the baby was safely out of the tub?
A recent study by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research shows how adults ages 18 to 34 are addicted to Facebook.
The study which polled over 1600 adult Facebook users showed that the first thing they do in a day when they wake up is check Facebook.
A post on MomsLikeMe.com in the Metro Detroit area shows a post from a stay at home mom who wrote:
Two weeks ago I created a farm and zoo using the facebook applications Farmville and Zoo World. I became very obsessed. I went as far as: setting my alarm clock at all ungodly hours of the night to feed the animals I was breeding, spending real $ to buy collectables, treasure hunters, and breeders and adding 250 random people from all over the world (Germany and Indonesia included) to get “game money.” 2 nights ago I finally recognized this for what it is. That is: A PROBLEM AND ADDICTION. A problem just like smoking and gambling. How many other moms and people are being “sucked in” by these online games? How many of our children are also leaving “the real world” to participate in a virtual life. When I think of all the countless hours I have spent over the last 2 weeks playing these games I am appalled and ashamed at myself. My virtual world was becoming my “real world.” As of today, I am still playing these games, but I am limiting myself to one hour a day. I do think that they are a great stress reliever and good form of entertainment. However, just like everything in life, moderation is the key. Does anyone else have anything to share about their own experience with online gaming? Thank you for allowing me to vent and “come out of the closet.”
In 2008 a study by Social Games Development showed that the 10 most addictive Facebook games were:
#10 Bowling Buddies
#8 Word Cube
#7 Word Challenge
#6 Who Has the Biggest Brain?
#4 Mob Wars
#3 (fluff) Friends
#2 Texas Hold’Em Poker
First things first – parents your most important job is to take care of your children and that should be your first priority.
If you feel you could be addicted to games on Facebook or anywhere else online, get help by contacting the The Center For Internet Addiction.
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