A Canadian teenager has been found dead after running away from home when his parents confiscated his Xbox gaming machine. Brandon Crisp, 15, was obsessed with the online Xbox 360 game Call of Duty 4, in which several participants in different locations fight wars alongside a squadron of others — with whom they communicate over the internet using headphones and speakers. During the three-week search for the boy his mother said that the game was “his life right now”; she had taken the gaming system away numerous times.

Internet addiction expert Louise Nadeau, a psychologist at the Universite de Montreal, said that as a teenager her mother had accused her of being “a slave to TV”. “There’s something around being 13, 14 or 15 that kids find it easier to live through a screen,” she said. But internet games made it easier to lose touch with real life: “Our world becomes more and more foreign.” Nadeau added: “Addiction sets in when one feels responsible for what happens in the on-line world.”

Microsoft, the company that sells Xbox, offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the boy, and “grudgingly co-operated with police who sought IP addresses” of those who played with Brandon, according to the Post. Future Shop, a chain of stores selling games, was launching a new Xbox game, Gears of War 2, at the time Brandon’s body was found. The chain cancelled parties outside its stores in Toronto and Vancouver out of respect for the Crisp family. ~ National Post, Nov 6

 

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet