Depressed Teen sought escape in online games

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 September, 2006, 12:00am

Ah Yan felt life was hopeless after failing the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination.

She would not answer calls from friends and withdrew into the world of online games, playing until three or four in the morning, and starting again once she woke up.

'I lost direction after the exam and only found purpose in online games,' Ah Yan, 18, said.

She stopped bathing and rarely combed her hair. She left home only once or twice a week to go to the grocery store. 'I felt good in the game world because of the high levels I reached, but it was not real,' she said. 'When I went out and faced the real world, I felt low again. But slowly I felt online games were not the solution.'

After three months, Ah Yan decided to change and found a job.

'Occasionally I am praised in my job and I feel so good. I am very happy that I can also give some of my salary to my mum now.'

A Salvation Army social worker, Janice Chan Oi-chi, said it was crucial for parents to talk to their children about their problems.