When I saw this article pop-up today I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disbelief that a 15-year old received 25 years to life for his prank on another gamer… that is until I scrolled down and saw the amount of injury inflicted on the victims. Stepping back a little I don’t know where in this society we have lost sight of humanity when it comes to video games. Having grown up playing video games, first with my father during the early days of Wolfenstein 3D and then later venturing off on my own playing games like Digger and Diablo I have always kept the virtual world separate from reality. Even as games like Call of Duty, HALO and Counter-strike came out that expanded the envelope of online gaming and instilled competition amongst gamers, once that console turn off or you pressed ALT + F4 that was it. You got up off the chair and went on to live your life.
Somewhere along the way, gamers have lost the ability to distinct between reality and the virtual. Their pride, ego and sense of self-worth have all been rolled up into one single identity. Games are supposed to be providing escape, not identity. It’s supposed to be a hobby where one can enjoy themselves for a few minutes to a few hours. Today, the youth of our nation strive to be at the top of these virtual ladders thinking that it translates into real worth. While I feel compassion for this kid who didn’t know any better, I can only ask, “where are the parents?” Why have they not been more involved with this kid’s life, guided him and raised him to rise above such petty and dangerous actions? It’s too late now.