New measures are being introduced in South Korea seeking to combat the problem of internet addiction.
The move follows the trial of a couple for negligent homicide. Their three-month old daughter died of malnutrition, allegedly because they were too busy raising a virtual child in a Second-Life-style game online known as Prius.
Kim Yoo-chul, 41, and Choi Mi-sun, 25, would feed their three-month-old baby only when not at 12-hour-online sessions in a local internet café. The pair were obsessed with raising their internet child, called Anima, resulting in the neglect of their unnamed real daughter.
After one such session in September the couple found their daughter dead and called police. An autopsy found the baby died from prolonged malnutrition.
The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life because they didn't have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby, Chung Jin-Won, a police officer, told Korean press.
They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby.
They both pleaded guilty last week and will be sentenced on April 16.
James Ogloff, a professor of Clinical Forensic Psychology at Monash University, told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program the case has reignited debate about whether or not internet addiction should be taken into account when determining if a person can be held responsible for their crime.
There is great controversy about it, as an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is more commonly thought of as a compulsion, so drugs and alcohol are rarely used to exonerate people, he said.
The South Korean government estimates the country has about 2 million internet addicts - almost 9 per cent of the country's total number of web users.
South Korean government is planning to introduce two new software programs to combat the 8.8 per cent of Korean internet addicts, many of whom access the web from home, or in public places through wireless connections.
The two types of software will be available - one with a consensual shutdown program and one called Internet Fatigue, which makes games harder as time goes by so the user gets bored.
Professor Ian Hickie, from the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Sydney University, says the programs are incredibly useful.
Often when people get stuck they don't notice the passage of time. They need something to help them to stop, he said.
We see this across a lot of different behaviours like alcohol and drugs if they can't stop the environment for a certain amount of time to regulate their behaviours.