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article imageMan hires in-game assassins to 'kill' son in online games

By Layne Weiss     Jan 7, 2013 in Technology
According to Chinese media a man known as "Mr. Feng" hired "virtual" assassins to kill off his son's avatar in online video games. He believed his son's gaming habit was to blame for his poor grades in school and failure to land a job.
Mr Feng was concerned his son , 23-year-old Xiao Feng, spent far too much online, and hoped his actions would deter his son from playing, BBC News reports.
According to The Telegraph, Xiao Feng noticed he was being targeted by other gamers, and asked why. They were upfront and explained his father had paid them to "kill" him.
Xiao Feng that his video game addiction is overblown. His father was hoping that if he kept getting "kiled" every time he logged on, he'd get bored and turn his attention to finding a job, the Kokatu East blog reports, but all it did was annoy Xiao Feng.
"I can play or I can not play, it doesn't bother me. I'm not looking for any job-I want to take some time to find one that suits me," he told his father.
Mr Feng and his son are said to have reconciled, BBC News reports.
But in China, the internet and online videogaming addiction issue doesn't stop at the Feng family. In 2007, it became such a widespread problem that the Chinese government launched a nationwide campaign to "combat internet addiction. The Communist Youth League called it a "grave social problem" that threatened the nation.
Part of the campaign included establishing clinics that used electroshock therapy to fight the addiction.
In 2009, China banned electroshock therapy as a treatment for internet addiction.
Dr. Mark Griffiths, a gambling and addictions expert Nottingham Trent University has been studying "excessive video game playing" for 25 years and doesn't really buy into the idea of video game "addiction."
Griffiths believes that if someone doesn't have a job, isn't in a relationship, or doesn't have a child, playing video games all day shouldn't really be that much of a problem, he tells BBC News.
"It's not the time you spend doing something, it's the impact it has on your life," Griffiths said.
Griffiths feels that in most cases excessive video game playing is a "symptom of an underlying problem."
According to the Kokatu East blog, it is unknown what has happened with the Fengs. Has Xiao Feng found a job? Has Mr. Feng called off the virtual "hitmen?" Many around China consider Mr. Feng very clever for coming up with the idea.
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