A Nevada couple is claiming that videogame obsession caused them to neglect their two children, leaving them malnourished and suffering other health problems.
Michael and Iana Straw have each pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect. They say they were too distracted by online games, particularly Dungeons & Dragons Online, to care for their children properly. Prosecutor Kelli Ann Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal, “They had food, they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing videogames.”
Their son, 22 months old, was treated for starvation and a genital infection, and police said his lack of muscle development had caused him difficulty in walking. His 11-month-old sister had a mouth infection, dry skin and severe dehydration, and her head had to be shaved because her hair was matted with cat urine.
Nevada Child Abuse Prevention spokesman Patrick Killen said, “As we become more technologically advanced, there’s more distractions. It’s easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children. Whether it’s videogames or meth, it’s a serious issue, and we need to become more aware of it.”
The Straws each face a maximum 12-year sentence. According to Viloria, their children have been placed in foster care, where they are gaining weight and doing well.