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BEIJING, China — A father concerned about his son's gaming habits took a novel approach to fighting his son's addiction: he hired online "hitmen" to kill his son's character every time the young man logged on to play.
Xiao Feng — translated to "Young Feng" — started playing video games in high school, according to Kotaku. The 23-year-old apparently thought himself a master of online role-play games and had been unable to find a job. He told the Sanqing Daily, however, that he simply could not find work he liked.
The last straw for the young man's father came when Feng could not even hold on to a job at a software development company for three months. So Mr. Feng decided to hire players in his son's online games to hunt down his son's characters every time his son logged in, figuring eventually, the man would get sick of being killed and give up on the games.
Instead, the son found out about the hitmen — he did not say how — and told his father how he felt.
I'm not looking for any job — I want to take some time to find one that suits me.
"I can play or I can not play, it doesn't bother me. I'm not looking for any job — I want to take some time to find one that suits me," he said.
Feng was "relieved" by his son's intentions, according to Kotaku, but it is unclear whether his son stepped back from gaming or whether the father called off the hitmen.
Mark Griffiths, a gambling and addictions expert at Nottingham Trent University in England, said that type of approach is creative, but not likely to help either family relations or the gaming addict's problem. "Most excessive game playing is usually a symptom of an underlying problem," he told the BBC.
Griffiths said in studies of extreme gamers, those who were unemployed, were not in relationships and did not have children did not see detrimental effects.
"It's not the time you spend doing something, it's the impact it has on your life," he said.