Gamers hired by father to 'kill' son in online games

man playing video game Many parents worry about the amount of time their children spend playing video games, experts say

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A man in China hired virtual "assassins" to hunt down his son in online video games and kill off his avatar, according to local media.

The man, named by the Kotaku East blog as Mr Feng, was concerned about the amount of time his 23-year-old unemployed son was spending online.

He hoped his actions would deter his son from playing the games, he is reported to have said.

His son eventually asked one of the gamers why they kept targeting him.

"It's not going to do much for family relations," Prof Mark Griffiths, a gambling and addictions expert at Nottingham Trent University told the BBC.

"I've never heard of that kind of intervention before, but I don't think these top-down approaches work. Most excessive game playing is usually a symptom of an underlying problem."

Prof Griffiths said he heard from many parents who were worried about their children's gaming habits but often it was not an addiction.

"I've spent 25 years studying excessive video game playing," he said.

"I've come across very excessive players - playing for 10 to 14 hours a day - but for a lot of these people it causes no detrimental problems if they are not employed, aren't in relationships and don't have children.

"It's not the time you spend doing something, it's the impact it has on your life."

Father and son are said to have reconciled but World of Warcraft expert Olivia Grace said she did not think Mr Feng's actions would necessarily act as a deterrent.

"Being killed by someone happens all the time," she said.

"People are just like that online."

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