I like Facebook. I do. I don't play the apparently addictive Farmville, though I do like to end up with...
I like Facebook. I do. I don't play the apparently addictiveFarmville Farmville, though I do like to end up with the top score in Bejeweled Blitz. But I've got to tell you the truth: I've never felt the urge to kill my child when they interrupted any of my social networking fun and games. Even when my networking is "serious business," I can't imagine shaking my sons -- to death -- for daring to cry. Sadly, that's what a woman in Jacksonville, Florida has pled guilty to having done. Alexandra J. Tobias plead guilty to shaking her three month old son to death because he cried while she was playing Farmville on Facebook. Sadly, I'm not making this stuff up. The twenty-two-year-old woman said that she "became enraged and told authorities that she shook the baby; then smoked a cigarette to calm herself down, before shaking him again. She also stated he "may have hit his head during the shaking." Oh. The death was classified as a second degree murder which is punishable by -- up to -- life in a prison. A precious baby is dead. A woman may spend the rest of her life in prison. And this is all because she had to tend to her crops -- virtual crops, that is. They're not even real. In fact, now that she's wearing orange and siting in a jail cell, her crops are likely wasting away. Game's over, Tobias. You lose. Unfortunately, it's not just Farmville ts addictive. In 2007, a couple blamed the Internet -- more specifically World of Warcraft -- for the gross neglect of their children. Their kids were "malnourished, dehydrated and riddled with infections, their muscles atrophied." They claimed "Internet addiction" as their defense. They eventually went the guilty pleas route as well, both sentenced to four years in prison. I'm not dismissing the fact that Internet addiction is a real thing. I understand how people, especially those who have no real life support system, get caught up in a world where people are easily reachable by keystroke. But when it results in child neglect, abuse or, at its worst like this case, death, the addiction doesn't matter. Tobias made the choice to shake that baby -- her son. Just like a drug or alcohol addicted parent, those addicted to the Internet still need to be held responsible for their actions (or inactions). In case your online networking and gaming seem to make you a little ragey, let me tell you a trick. Turn off the computer. And walk away from your child to collect your cool before you tend to your child's needs. If you feel you cannot handle your child's crying, please call a trusted family member or friend to come take over for an hour or two while you cool off. If you feel your addiction is out of control, seek help. More over, NEVER SHAKE A BABY. Photo Credit: sabrina.dent.

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