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Couple blame internet for child neglect Options · View
Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 1:39:03 AM

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Joined: 12/14/2006
Posts: 225
They're a disgrace angry9


RENO, Nev. - A couple who authorities say were so obsessed with the Internet and video games that they left their babies starving and suffering other health problems have pleaded guilty to child neglect.

The children of Michael and Iana Straw, a boy age 22 months and a girl age 11 months, were severely malnourished and near death last month when doctors saw them after social workers took them to a hospital, authorities said. Both children are doing well and gaining weight in foster care, prosecutor Kelli Ann Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Michael Straw, 25, and Iana Straw, 23, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts each of child neglect. Each faces a maximum 12-year prison sentence.

Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing "Dungeons & Dragons" series, to give their children proper care.

"They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games," Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Police said hospital staff had to shave the head of the girl because her hair was matted with cat urine. The 10-pound girl also had a mouth infection, dry skin and severe dehydration.

Her brother had to be treated for starvation and a genital infection. His lack of muscle development caused him difficulty in walking, investigators said.

The Straws have been given public defenders. Jeremy Bosler, head of the county public defender's office, declined to comment to The Associated Press on Saturday.

Michael Straw is an unemployed cashier, and his wife worked for a temporary staffing agency doing warehouse work, according to court records. He received a $50,000 inheritance that he spent on computer equipment and a large plasma television, authorities said.

While child abuse because of drug addiction is common, abuse rooted in video game addiction is rare, Viloria said.

Last month, experts at an American Medical Association meeting backed away from a proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder, saying it had to be studied further. Some said the issue is like alcoholism, while others said there was no concrete evidence it's a psychological disease.

Patrick Killen, spokesman for Nevada Child Abuse Prevention, said video game addiction's correlation to child abuse is "a new spin on an old problem."

"As we become more technologically advanced, there's more distractions," Killen said. "It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children. Whether it's video games or meth, it's a serious issue, and (we) need to become more aware of it."

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 5:35:29 PM

Rank: Matriarch

Joined: 12/6/2006
Posts: 29,156
Probably playing world of warcrack icon_biggrin
Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 8:44:58 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 918,633
It's a sad thing to read though. Children deserve better than that, all children do. So many have it so tough just surviving in this country, let alone other countries in the world. Yet, it seems the more our 'government' works to 'fix' things, the worse it gets. Maybe the government should just get out of things and let the people do what needs to be done.

I can remember in my youth that all moms watched out for all the kids in the neighborhood. If one mom saw something, she knew that she could say something to the kid(s) and that their mother would certainly say something to them as well. We seem to have lost that somehow along the line. Maybe it's because now a married couple have to both work in order to just survive in these times.

Somewhere along the line I feel that our government somehow decided that they needed to be 'taking care' of us. The reality is they can't take care of themselves, let alone most people. We need to someway get back to the days when kids could stay out and not be worried about bad things happening to them, or that they'd get into real trouble since all the moms (and dads) in the neighborhood were watchful of all the children.

The mom and dad in this case are just using electronic video games as an excuse for lazy neglect.

*whew*....better get off my soap box now. Sorry.
Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:40:07 PM

Rank: Administration

Joined: 5/10/2007
Posts: 71
I agree with parts of what you say C2c, it's a pity people don't look out for each other like they used to. I think people in general are getting more and more selfish.

As for the US government, I don't think they are doing practically anything in the interest of the common man or woman. Imho, policies are created for the betterment of corporate profit, and politician's backhanders these days, to the detriment to our society and economic wellbeing - we have the highest ever national debt recorded at the moment and our currency is weakening throughout the world.

Oops, now why did you have to go and move the soapbox under me instead! director
Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2007 6:49:08 AM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 12/13/2006
Posts: 16
Location: New Jersey,
People like that shouldn't be blessed with children.
Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2007 7:01:34 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 918,633
Far too often those that shouldn't have children do, and those that would be great with kids can't.

As far as government goes, I've never trusted it as far as one could throw it. It is usually 'special interest' business as usual.
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