Earth Hour

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mother shakes baby to death when he interrupted her Farmville game

A 22-year old mother in Florida pleaded guilty last Wednesday to murder for shaking her three month old son to death after his crying interrupted her Farmville game. 

The young woman told investigators that she was annoyed when her son started crying while she was playing the game.  She then shook her baby, "smoked a cigarette to compose her self", and shook her baby again.  She added that the baby might have hit his head somewhere during the shaking. 

At first, I thought this was one of those bogus stories circulating the Web recently.  But then even reputable news sites started reporting on it and the story took on a tragic, sad note.  Imagine a baby killed by his own mother because he needed her care and attention, but mom cannot be disturbed because she's busy plowing her virtual fields.

I also play Farmville on Facebook.  It's a game which allows anyone to become a farmer online and use his network of Facebook friends to grow crops, raise animals and manufacture farm goods.  If one has a lot of time to spare, it's a good game to while away a lazy weekend.  The game does not involve killing anything, not even insects or pests, that's why it is so disturbing to read news about a mother shaking her own kid to death while she's playing the game.

The news articles are not clear on the state of mind of the mother though.  Is she suffering from post partum depression like Andrea Yates?  Maybe she's a single parent since the articles didn't say anything about the kid's father.  Or maybe she's just a down and out individual who considers harvesting bushels of carrots and wheat a major accomplishment.  I am not trying to defend her but any of these things could have contributed for her to commit  the crime or to her "addiction" to Farmville.

Before we put the blame on Farmville or its producer Zynga or even the Internet for their involvement in the crime, let us remember that a player can always stand up and leave his computer anytime he wanted to.  All he needs to do is shut down his computer and forget about his farm.  Losing a field full of ripe blueberries is not the end of everything.

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