Video Game-Obsessed Mom Neglects Kids, Starves Dogs

Small Worlds. Smallworlds.com

Small Worlds.
Would you let your dogs die for this? (Smallworlds.com)


(CBS) What do you call a woman who neglects her children for months and fatally starves her pet dogs?

How about computer game enthusiast?

A 33-year-old Englishwoman was given a suspended sentence after admitting her obsession with a popular online game called "Small Worlds" kept her from caring for her three children, aged 9, 10, and 13, and two dogs, according to the Daily Mail.

The kids continued to attend school but had been reduced to eating cold beans straight from the can - because she had stopped buying food that had to be cooked, say police.

Was she crazy? The American Psychiatric Association does not consider gaming "addiction" to be a mental disorder, Science Daily reported in 2007. But the association is considering designating it as one in the revised version of its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," which is due out in 2012. The book is widely considered the bible of mental illness.

The woman, whose name was not revealed for legal reasons, was arrested last February, when authorities visiting her home in Kent found trash strewn all over the place.

And then there were the dogs.

Initially, the woman tried to block officers from her dining room, the paper reported. When they asked why, she said, "All right, my dogs are in there. They are dead. I killed them. I probably starved them, probably because I have been playing the computer game all the time."

Prosecutors said the woman, a widow, started playing the game in late 2009, the paper reported. Initially, she played for only an hour a day, but she soon became so obsessed that she was only getting a couple of hours of sleep each night.

In addition to a suspended two-year sentence, the woman was ordered to do community service.

She was also banned from using the Internet.

Probably not a bad idea.

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