According to one father in the United Kingdom, a popular video game likely contributed to the circumstances surrounding his 15-year-old son’s death earlier this year.
As the U.K. Sun reported, Ben Walmsley was found dead in February and the results of his autopsy have not yet been released.
His father believes a game called Doki Doki Literature Club contributed to his death, citing the “dark” themes of the game that he said “dragged” his son into its mature narrative.
“This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed,” the game warns players at each start.
Reports indicate the game deals with issues including suicide and other types of violence.
Darren Walmsley said his son was “growing up fast” and thinks he became too deeply entangled in the plot of the online game.
“It is hard for parents but this needs to be highlighted,” he said. “There is no confirmation yet, but we believe that the game could be linked to Ben’s death.”
Philips High School, the teen’s Whitefield school, has since issued a warning about the game, describing it as “a psychological horror game with suicide as a main feature.”
Players in the game control characters who are pushed to make decisions that can lead to intense real-world feelings, experts say.
“It is free to download but once you get into it, it will not leave you alone,” Darren Walmsley said. “The characters befriend and love you and give you tasks to do but if you do not do them, they turn nasty.”
The school said officials brought the matter to the attention of administrators.
“A concern has been expressed that the game may trigger suicidal thoughts in young people who may be emotionally vulnerable,” the school added. “Please monitor and check your child’s internet use regularly and be mindful of the time spent.”
Greater Manchester Police detective inspector Jude Holmes issued a similar public safety warning.
“We believe this game is a risk to children and young people, especially those that are emotionally vulnerable and anyone with existing mental health concerns,” he said.
[Featured image: Pixabay, geralt]