It appears that playing video games may have led to a child’s death as a parent stands accused of murdering his own child. The man allegedly suffocated his 16 month old son because he wanted to play on his Xbox. Florida resident Cody Wygant, 24 years old, reportedly was aggravated and annoyed by his son Daymeon’s loud, continuous crying which was disrupting his ability to play Xbox. The allegations say that he became so incensed that he took the child and covered his son’s face and nose for three to four minutes, smothering him until Daymeon stopped crying. Wygant then placed the child back into bed and returned to playing videos games and watching Netflix, not checking on the child for another five hours when he discovered that his son had turned blue and was not showing signs of life. Daymeon was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors were unfortunately unable to save his young life.
Wygant has been charged with child neglect as well as third degree murder, and is currently being held without bail. This is not his first run-in with the law; his record includes going to prison for having sex with a minor. While he is in jail, his other child, a three-month old baby girl, has been placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. This case of a parent accused with murdering a child over video games, or any case leading to a child’s death, spotlights two growing problems that have attracted attention in the United States: dangerous parenting and the risks of gaming.
Unfortunately, other stories of young, terribly unfit parents charged with killing their children for absurd reasons have been popping up across the country. In March, an Oregon mother was arrested after allegedly beating her four-year old son to death simply because she believed he might be gay. The 25-year-old, Jessica Dutro, was charged with murder, abuse, and assault. Her two other children also showed distinct signs of abuse.
So while questionable parenting plays a key role in this case, the other half of the story relates to the use of video games. The risks of playing videos games have been examined time and time again. In December, a study was published that showed that a correlation existed between continued video game use and deadly deep vein thrombosis. Essentially, this means that playing Xbox or Playstation for hours and hours and not moving the body can lead to blood clots forming inside a person’s veins. These blood clots can reach other parts of the body, which is fatal roughly 30 percent of the time.
The problem of video game addiction has also raised concerns lately. The Newton Public School District, home of the tragic Sandy Hook shootings, is hosting a forum on video game addiction later this month. The question of how gaming relates to violence is a question that has recurred in the wake of many school shootings, and the forum will attempt to look deeper into that issue. Regardless, the tragedy of video games leading to a child’s death as a parent stands accused of murder is unsettling to say the least. If forums such as those can help find way to curb violence, it would not be a moment too soon.
By Alex Warheit