Parents, Hiring Virtual ‘Hitmen’ Won’t Solve Your Child’s Video Game Addiction

January 29, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

A strange phenomenon happened to Xiao Feng every time he played his favorite massive multiplayer online role playing game. He simply couldn’t avoid running into higher level players who, without any rhyme or reason, quickly surrounded and kill his video game characters.

As it turned out, his father, Mr. Feng, was responsible for hiring in-game “hitmen” to carry out the acts of cyber “murder.”

The elder Feng only meant well. He had hoped that the “death” of his 23-year-old son’s video game characters would cause him to lose interest in gaming, break his addiction, and spend more time finding a job.

Mr. Feng’s worry that Xiao Feng’s gaming addiction would detrimentally affect his life is perhaps not unfounded. After all, an official in Nanjing was reported to have embezzled 2.6 million yuan (about $430,000) just to feed his gaming crave, and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Theoretically, Mr. Feng’s efforts could have wound up in vain. Commenting on this story in an interview with BBC, Nottingham Trent University’s Professor Mark Griffiths, an addictions and gambling expert, noted that a “top-down approach” to gaming addictions won’t work, and neither will it help improve “family relations.”

Fortunately, things played out rather differently in real life. According to, Xiao Feng had actually submitted a number of resumes and went for job interviews, but couldn’t find a job he liked.

A diligent student who scored pretty decent grades when he was in school, Xiao Feng admitted that his holing up in his room gaming for a couple of days after a round of unfavorable job hunting might have caused his father to get a bit “paranoid.”

Dismissing his father’s fear that he has a gaming addiction, Xiao Feng said: “I can play or I can not play, it doesn’t bother me.”

Alex Johnston contributed to this report.