You hear some odd calls over the police scanner. We always keep it running in the background in the ER. It is the best way to get early warning on accidents and other things that we may need to gear up to handle.
The other night there was a call that got me thinking. Apparently a mother in a town fifty miles away had become aware that her son was talking about suicide.....on X Box Live.
I had to look this up, but apparently this is an online multiplayer gaming thing, with extra features such as chat. It will connect you to Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. You can appear as whatever avatar you like.
The police went out and could not find the individual where he was thought to be. No avatars were sighted either.
So many questions.
Was mom also gaming? Perhaps there are families out there in which Super Mario is enjoyed by several generations.
How did the police know where to look? I seem to recall that getting together in somebody's basement for multiplayer gaming is the norm. And there are lots of young people living in lots of mom and dad basements these days. The internet is everywhere.
How do you judge the seriousness of suicidal talk in a "gamer universe". It is customary in most of these addicting alternate realities to have multiple "lives". Meaning you can die a few times with no adverse effects.
I hope this was all a misunderstanding of some sort. There was no obvious follow up so I shall never know.
But I just keep wondering. When young people spend so very much of their time and energy in these alternate, virtual realities.....do their lives there matter more than their life here?