Written by S. Bowyer



  Love Child
is a new documentary that covers the death of Sarang, and the new facts that Korean officials found. It's the first case of its kind in the country, changing the way people now see online gaming and its effects on particularly impressional players. It also brings question about lifestyles and preventions that could be placed.


     Sarang, meaning "love" in Korean, died at 3 months of age in 2010. Her father, Mr. Kim, aged 41, estimates she died at 5am. He found her body at 5am when he arrived home at 7am. His wife and his first reaction was to look up funeral services online, where they read they had to call police first, which they then did. 

     Police found a messy basement that contained Sarang. They recall, "the baby was lying down on the blanket, covered with the bed cloth up to her chest. She seemed to be underweight compared to other babies. All of our team members were suspicious of the relationship between the parent and the child. A typical parent would weep in this situation, but they showed no emotion."

     Police requested an autopsy by the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. Cause of death was malnourishment. An investigator sates, "We're living in the 21st century and she starved to death. It was really sad."

     "I think they fed the baby with the rotten milk", stated police, noting hairs in the baby's bottle.

     The mother's records showed she never went to hospital after she was pregnant. Not until she was almost due. Vaccinations and examinations were missed. Medical staff stated it seemed like she had no idea how to care for the baby. It was also noted the parents looked just as "skinny" as the baby, and more was going on than just disinterest. Interesting, the neglect stated was not due to finances, as Korea covers most medical cost through public health. 

     "Everyone is covered for everything (with some amount of deductable) as long as the procedure is not elective. . . The wait list time is short and everything is dirt-cheap. It has been this way since 1989," states the writer of AskaKorean.

     When questioned, it was found Mr. and Mrs. Kim, had been at a "PC Room" or "PC Bang," which is the Korean term for a net cafe. They had left Sarang home, alive, after dinner. The PC Bang logs showed the couple had attended 6 hours that night after Sarang went to sleep.

     When Sarang's death was brought to hearing in a court, the couple stated they were addicted to an online game, and they had not intentionally killed their child. They looked remorseful despite being pregnant again. The Kim couple's history came to light. They had been living with Mrs. Kim's family, however there was tension over the couple's lifestyle. Mrs. Kim's mother was unhappy her daughter married an unemployed man, and they spent too much time on the game. When the couple tried to explain they earnt real money for playing Prius, they were not believed. It's understood this was the couple's only source of income. 

     Lawyers state, "the couple didn't realise that the baby will starve to death. Therefore, they had no intent to murder their baby and the child died of neglect. Government prosecutors agreed and charged the defendants with involuntary manslaughter instead of a full out murder charge."

     The clerk of the store says he recalls them visiting every day, stating he knew them quite well being regulars. They often took on their bulk hour specials to save money. He did not, however, know they'd become pregnant or had a baby. To his knowledge, they were a happy couple who came to play the game each night after dinner.

     "I remember they say they actually met inside a game. They were playing the fantasy game Prius," he told the filmmakers. "The couple sold the virtual money to those who wanted to buy game items without investing the time it takes to earn them."



   Ironically, there are babies in Prius. They are called anima, a mini avatar, or child the character/person is responsible for. The avatars gain personalities based on the gamer's experience.



     As anima get older they learn shew skills, so it's important they are taken care of. Even more ironically, Quest 508 in Prius is called Sacrifice of a Star. A cinematic shows the person's character being beaten down, and the anima/child reacting in a prayer, saving them from death, and sacrificing themselves. Later in the game, if they have enough points, the player can revive their anima. The connected ciematic quotes, 

     "I acted out of love. How could I imagine the repercussions would be so severe. . . If only I had know that my blood sacrifice would tear Prius apart. Rise my child. Through me you will have life again."

     Sarang's death brought about much contraversy in Korea, this being the first case where the perpetrators claimed Gaming addiction and their sentence being lessened. Is gaming addiction thriving in Korea? In the world? See also: Gaming Addiction at Home.

     The Kim couple have served their sentence, attended therapy and treatment for their addictions, and now live a better life. Their new child, Autumn, is healthy and thriving and Mr. Kim now works as a taxi driver. Both swear they will never playing video games again.

     "I will be guilty until the day I die, " Mrs. Kim stated.

     "I hope that she's happy forever in heaven, and I feel sorry as a dad," Mr. Kim stated.

     The PC Bang clerk says he was happy for the arrival of their new child. "Whatever they did, I know they wanted to be good parents. I know they have more love to give."

     Police involved highlight they don't agree with excuses being made, as caring for a baby and the actions involved should be natural instincts. In their career they try not to think of emotions, but remind us police are people too. 

     "How ironic was it her name was "Love?"' asks the police investigator.

     Psychiatrists now suggest Gaming addiction should be placed in the DSM-4, the mental illness directory, and include the symptoms, emotional shutdown, lack of concentrations, and withdrawals. They state children are most at risk.

     Prius Online was shut down in 2013 due to a decrease in player base. An emotional finale cut scene was created at the end of the game, talking about life ending and destiny.

    The questions this case raises are multiple:

  1. Was it the need of money that drove this couple to neglect their child? 
  2. Was it their love of the game or their child that made them invest so much time?
  3. How much neglect can be excused for a mental disorder such as Gaming addiction?
  4. Would Sarang had died if there was more medical or emotional support for the couple?

     The documentary aims to also explore the facts, figures and opportunity of gaming addiction. It includes interviews with doctors, psychologists, gaming company gurus and gamers, on the effect of online gaming, and also the money-making circles these games created. Some of this information can be seen in the accompanying article: Gaming Addiction at Home.

     "Love Child is about how we can “change technology to create an in-road to our humanity,” Veatch, the filmmaker, says.

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