It should go without saying, but ongoing tragedies remind us it does not go without saying, that the Internet world and our real world have a measure of separation. Entwined though they are, an element of distinct separation exists that we as human beings must never forget. For a young couple and their little baby in South Korea, it did not go without saying and they did forget that there is “real” and there is another “real.” The reality of the Internet is one thing; the reality of your life is something else entirely. Larry Greenemeier summarizes the horrific situation (“Real World” Scientific American, June 2013, p. 24):
“In March 2010 police in South Korea arrested a husband and wife in a tragically ironic case that gained international notoriety: the couple let their three-month-old daughter, Sarang, starve to death in their apartment while they spent up to 12 hours a day nurturing a virtual daughter as part of a 3-D fantasy online role-playing game known as Prius Online.”
Unfortunately, we do not have to look far to find many similar situations in which people are emotionally, mentally, relationally, financially, or physically harmed due to personal Internet fascinations (see my blog post, “What Is Facebook Doing to Us?” Blog.reliableinsights.com, 5/15/12). The Internet has literally created a new venue for crime and tragedy. Nevertheless, that reality does not negate the reality of all the good that generates in and through the Internet. In spite of the millions of people who will use the Internet for good and noble purposes, the “criminals” of one sort or another will always exist and use it to their perverted goals.
My contention is the husband and wife who let Sarang die let the Internet become their master because of what they brought to the Internet. They brought themselves, and all the broken pieces of their lives. Those broken selves are what enabled them to enter into behavior that most of us would find reprehensible, unacceptable, and disgusting.
In the meantime, the takeaway for us is to examine our own Internet management. Is the Internet truly our servant, or have we become its servant? I can only answer that question for me. However, I know you can answer it for you.
I am all about keeping it real.