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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY >Previously banned ‘dangerous’ online video game allegedly causes suicide of Turkish boy

ISTANBUL

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A previously banned “dangerous” online video game may have been the reason behind the death of a 13-year-old boy in Istanbul, daily Habertürk reported on Aug. 4.

Hakan Ekinci was found dead on July 25 in front of his computer where he was playing an online video game called Metin 2 at his house in Istanbul’s Esenler district. 

The boy committed suicide, according to initial forensic reports, but his family denies that he took his own life, saying that he was murdered.

The forensic report also stated that there were no marks on his body, but confirming that the cause of his death was suffocation. There was an elastic bandage around his neck when he was found dead in his room. 

The report will be sent to the Büyükçekmece Chief Prosecutor’s Office after it is completed.

Police have started taking testimonies of the 13-year-old boy’s friends as a part of the investigation as well as seized his computer to follow traces of causes that could have led to the death. Police is expecting to reach third parties or a gang that may have been involved in the reason that drove Ekinci to suicide. 

Ekinci’s father said his son had plans for the future, denying claims that his son took his own life and saying that he was instead murdered. 

“He had one dream, and that was to become a doctor. We do not believe that he can harm himself or anyone else because of this game. We were aware that he was playing such a game,” he said.

The boy’s mother said there were some conflicting reports over the death of her son.

“There is no one entering or leaving the building. When his brother came home there was one chair in front of his computer but when his body was found there were two chairs in front of the computer,” he said.

Concerns over the game “Metin 2” emerged again after it was suspected of being a reason that triggered the death. 

The game first became alarming after the death of another 13-year-old boy in the eastern province of Erzurum in 2009.

The Antalya Governor’s Office had banned the game being played in internet cafes for children under the age of 15 following the death of another boy.  

Specialists are warning parents of these kinds of online games, urging families to monitor their children’s activities on the internet.

İlker Karakaş, a video game reviewer, said parents should be more careful for their children.

“Parents generally do not pay attention to this issue. Children communicate with many people through these games. There could be other things involved besides bad language. Or they can invite a person to their house. Children may believe the game can be real. The trauma that could trigger suicide can be related to blackmail. They cannot commit suicide solely because of the game. There is a possibility that the boy was being manipulated by a gang,” he added.

Metin 2 was designed in South Korea in 2005 by computer programmers. In order to play the game you have to visit the site and register. The players of the game try to maintain peace and justice with a dragon god in the game, however, it involves violence-inducing activities such as cutting and blading weapons like swords and axes as well as images of people being torn apart by wild animals and defeated by their flesh. The player is able to buy characters with money to gain strength.

August/04/2017

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