Internet-Obsessed Couple Let Kids Starve

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17-07-2007 14:07:45

[quote9cc17f837f]RENO, Nev. (July 15) - 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."[/quote9cc17f837f]


17-07-2007 14:38:02

That's horrible.... x

I'm sure there are a lot of people blaming the video game(s) instead of the waste of human space that are these children's "parents."


17-07-2007 14:38:55

I'd think WoW would cause that more than D&D...


17-07-2007 16:46:26

[quotee4272217e2="Wolfeman"]I'd think WoW would cause that more than D&D...[/quotee4272217e2]
Yeah that's what I figured it was until I read that part, haha


17-07-2007 17:39:53

Oh That is terrible.....those people are absolutely worthless and should never get their kids back.


17-07-2007 17:54:19

...what the....


17-07-2007 18:04:29

Fucking Reno.. its the asshole of our state.

But seriously that is horrible. I don't see how they could do that. They themselves ate right? The report said there was food in the house. They where just too lazy to feed there kids? What the hell.


17-07-2007 18:57:44

[quote5e299737af="JordanE"]Fucking Reno.. its the asshole of our state.[/quote5e299737af]At least we get an amazing show out of there...


17-07-2007 20:18:06



17-07-2007 20:29:23


Reno 911 I'm assuming...

Also, those parents are huge nerds.


17-07-2007 20:34:52

Lock up the parents and let them starve!


17-07-2007 20:57:26

Oh.. yeah Reno 911 is pretty good.


18-07-2007 07:03:05

Americans have to be licensed to drive, fish, hunt and in most places have a dog, among other things. We should require licenses for parenting as well.