Inspiration for the book - emails to the family

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Inspiration for the book - emails to the family

#1 Post by Chit » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:12 pm

Robert Steen shared with me emails that he'd received, many of which were from people in families. Mats' story opened many peoples eyes about the positive side of gaming. Now, as we discuss working with Robert in writing, I felt it would be good to share these positive responses which have inspired the idea of Robert's book.

Many of these emails were in Norwegian, so I have used google to translate the text and lightly edited the result. Not perfect, but enough I think to convey the good that can come of discussing the many positives that can come via online gaming. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Hi Robert. I've read your strong story about Mats. I have spent a lot of time on World of Warcraft and other computer games. I have occasionally encountered great adversity for my interests where people especially parents have claimed that I have been a game dependent or that I have been orphaned or avoided spending time with my friends. It's really amazing how you can get such good friends without meeting them and it's really tough for us to have friends in these digital worlds when people say we are anti-social and don't have or spend time with our friends. Thank you for finding the strength to share this story with our great country. I wish you and your family a good future. I hope you realize how much this helps many youths and hopefully parents in our community.

Jon-Kristian Gravdahl

Dear Robert Steen. I want to thank you for the openness and the honesty of the article about your son, Mats, who made an enormously strong impression on us as parents. This opened our eyes to get a good dialogue with our sons of almost 11 and 13 years, of
their computer game world and how we can best solve things together, without too many conflicts and unnecessary misunderstandings. We must find good solutions to meet halfway we adults and children, and it requires that we parents engage ourselves far more in "their world".
And so it is true that friends exist on several levels, too.
Today, it is for many easier to make friends in more ways than when we grew up, as we only found our like-minded people through school and leisure activities. I speak from my own experience, because I was on disability benefit and thus a homemaker's stuck at home, and have made some of my very closest friends today, through the web! Therefore, it means
so much more, and for so many more than you might think that you went out with your family and their story ❤ It has also led to my husband and I now discussing the possibility of arranging a LAN for children and young people this spring in the municipality, and we’ve begun to plan this! All the honor for you and yours - and not least Mats - their contribution to greater understanding between the child and adult generation ❤ Have a wonderful day!
Sincerely, Elin Mosbakk

Hello. Thank you so much to Trude and you for sharing the story of Mats. I've heard it before, but this retelling on was insanely strong. It touched so enormously and we cried and cried when we read it out loud to each other in the house. Not in pity, but because it tells such a much larger story of friendship and love in a whole new era. Thanks again. Tor and Tonje

Hello! My name is Daniel Schmidt, I live in Brazil, I'm 33 years old and I've been a gamer since always, I was very moved by Mats's story, people have no idea about the family that becomes these people who spend so many hours in front of a computer, if you blame yourself for not having noticed it from the beginning, most people do not realize it, and often in the games you create an even greater trust than the offline links, your son was a hero and now it is part of my heart for This story is so beautiful. I send all the positive energies possible for you and your family !!! Strong hug...

Daniel Gorbarian

I've never played Wow, never heard of who your son was. But when I read an interview with you, it was so touching to read. I was eating, but after a while I discovered that I still had food. The last time I cried was at my niece's funeral. And now when I read this article.

Your son is a good example of how the computer can build bridges without people being able to weigh in with their prejudices.

Greetings from the neighboring country in the east !!
Jonas Bjørk

Thank you for sharing the story of Mats! It feels good to know that identity and friendship do not have to be limited by physical limits. Espen Sundve

Good morning Mr. Steen,
My name is Pedro, I apologize for bothering you, since we don't know each other, but today I read the article prepared by Vicky Schaubert about the history of Mats and your family and I have no other way of describing it but one of the most beautiful stories that I've ever read.
Thank you for sharing this story and making so many people reflect on the real meaning of life and how we can make a difference in this world even when there are barriers to doing it.

Pedro Bossi de Castro


I've seen and heard you on television several times over the last few days. Maybe it's a mistake to call it a sunshine story when you lose a child. But it is so touching. And, not least, thought-provoking what you are talking about. And it is a sunshine story when people scrape together money to cross borders to attend a funeral.
It is something that few people experience with "regular friends".

I am the father of a girl of 16 myself, and will think much of the lessons you have given me in the future.

Some years ago both my wife and me were in a web game. We were on vacation to Singapore and were met by some game friends and it was a wonderful experience to meet them. They showed us around and were like friends we had known for years.

I don't usually write to people I don't know, as I do now. But I have to say thanks for good learning. And at the same time also say it's a sorrow to hear that you lost your son.

Thank you for conveying the story of Mats.

Live Arild

Hey! I just want to say thank you for your nice interview in the paper about Mats. My friend Robin born -89 also had the duchenne's muscular dystrophy and I think of him almost every day. He had an incredibly big heart and I would not be who I am today without him. Your element in Skavlan strongly emphasizes that a person's impression on others is not in the physical ability. Robin passed away in November 2013.

Evelina Dahlgren

Hi Robert! Hope everything is good. You probably get many messages about today, but I am sending one anyway. Tough to share the story of Mats, and also so important. Thanks! Today I have been studying at Høgskulen in Volda in the topic Risk Communication and Issue Management. I had gotten tasked with giving a presentation of an article Darryl Jarvis has written about sociologist Didrich Beck. He is known to be one of the
first to point to the paradox that in modern times, risk can actually increase due to technology, research and industrialism rather than
decreasing in pace with research and technological development. After my presentation discussed as to whether new technology isolates us
as Beck claims. And then the story of Mats appeared in several heads. And the teacher told the story of Mats so that the foreign students also got it. It was agreed that reality is not as black and white as the theories can be.🌹

Anders Rødberg Larsen

Thank you and your family for sharing the story of Mats strongly and touchingly!
I had to read the case several times and there were some tears.
Finally, some other adults who put this word out.
For many years we have experienced just the same as you.
We have a son with Tourette's syndrome, social anxiety and who is struggling with panic attacks when he comes with both strangers and foreign places. Both me and my husband have many times been both worried and afraid that Thomas should be lonely.
Online gambling has become the way he both communicates with others and manages to have a social life.
There is a lot of taboo in society around exactly this with children's playing.
Many times I have received comments from others on his play since everyone else "understands everything" and throws his lip down.

So thank you!
Let's hope this can open some doors about things that are talked about too little.

Best regards

Kristine Larsen

Hi ❤ Incredibly nice article you have made ❤ I am an aunt to a little guy who is 7 years old, who has SMA type two (weak). Reading this brings joy to his aunt’s heart. Liam cannot be at all, and has already begun to spend a lot of time playing. The tears when I read what you have written.

Christine Istad

Hi Robert, So the lovely NRK case was. I sit here with tears down my cheeks. Many people who worry about children's games that find comfort in their story about Mats, I think. Large hug 🥰
Sitting now waiting for your entry to the weekend after just reading the article in Aftenposten 😊. Heard about Mats on radio m Noa v my side in place and told him a bit - he sat with his ears on the stalk ... hugs!
Was very good. You are tough. This is very important for many and good with specific advice on participating in that world. 🌸

Dear Robert and Trude, thank you for sharing the story of Mats with us others. You've told us a bit about Mats on a walk, Robert, but it was so strong to read about him and his life - online and off. Even if you say you despair that he played a lot, Robert, I also think he has been fortunate to have the law and space and acceptance to do so. An inspiration to be even a little more content with my 15-year-old boy struggling at school, not growing ... and loving gaming. Thanks :-)
Thomas Hornburg.

Dear Robert, know you get a lot of messages, but I will join all those who send you and your family warm thoughts after reading the story of Mats. I heard you on the radio yesterday, and I was greatly affected. Everyone has recognition in one way or another, including me with my three boys, nice guys that we did our best with, in both struggle and wind. You talked so quietly and safely that I think you gave many both self-confidence and self-respect. Thank you for bidding on yourself. I'm proud to be with you! Jonas GS.

And I have to say this I sit alone in the kitchen with the coffee cup and read you in Aftenposten, I am greatly affected, this is so important, honest and genuine - hurt and good at the same time and it hits many. Hey you and Trude Robert - greet her and have a nice weekend! Jonas

I, like so many others, also have gamer- "children". You have awakened many with your / Mats' history. Both children and adults ☺️ Tone TD.

Now our little family is sitting together (my son is 21 years old and played a lot of games before) and talked about the article about Mats. Think about it that your article has so much importance to us! Thanks! We had a lot of quarrels about playing time when my son was young. The article has created unity between the parents and the children, you shed light on what the new generation gap is! AndraSandra Xiao

Good evening Mr Steen. I do hope you do not mind my messaging you but I have just read the article about your beautiful Son Mats on the BBC web page and was most touched by it. I think the grave stone is wonderful. I hope you stay well and get comfort from knowing what an amazing young man Mats appears to have been. I am a mother of 2 grown children in England. Kind regards. Judith MC Gregor

Hi, Robert Steen. From the Skavland program my tears flowed, yes, it was moving to hear you. I am 61 years old and have not had a thought that the "game world" could be such a thing - I'm ashamed. I hope your message will be put on the agenda. Thanks! Ms Folke Trydal

I have nourished two gamers at my bosom. Both my 23-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter are fascinated by the digital gaming world. When my son grew up, the discussions were mostly about age limits. With my daughter I have engaged myself more.

When she was younger, we played Minecraft together. But in recent years, I have not actively engaged in her gaming world except to talk about which games she plays, integrity and security.

After seeing Robert Steen's strong, important and thought-provoking appearance at Skavlan last Friday, I had myself a good think. How can I take a more active part of my daughter's game world? Does she want me to be part of it?

After we talked about it, we are now sitting next to each other with each computer in the lap. I have two new characters in the two games she plays the most; Roblox and MovieStarPlanet (MSP). We have become friends in both games and she guides me around worlds, rooms, functions and presents me to friends (mostly classmates). I hope that over time we will discover more worlds together.

Thank you Robert for sharing.

Remembering the concern over all the hours Nina and Ivar have spent in front of the PC
with gaming I am thinking about it in a different way now. Sometimes
I've heard cries and laughter from the basement room. Now I’m thinking when
I come down to visit Ivar, he is "alone" but not alone, but in contact with friends, schoolmates who study and live in other places. A greatest fear has been
that I should say something that came out on "speaker"!

May Britt Stenbro

Just read, and of course, shared your amazing story about your son.
This chronicle should be a syllabus for everyone who interacts with children and youth,
parents, grandparents, teachers, psychologists, environmental therapists etc etc.
... sending you and yours a big and warm hug and a thank you for your
educational words!

Lise Rannem

Hi Robert - I hope everything is fine right now in the new year! It is a wonderful story you have now told about Mats and Ibelin, something honestly beautiful and a lovely link between digital / analog, inclusion / exclusion and young / old. Thank you for sharing - for it puts words as much as we need to understand now and in the future. As you know, we have our annual conference NEO, and this year's theme is technology trends (AI), sustainability and cooperation. Every year we also have a slightly "different" lecture that sets the dot and will give the industry reflection. I really want to invite you to be this year - that puts dots and opens eyes. There is 2504 at the Peace Center. Many interesting lecturers (Brekke, Astrup, Bjerke, humanitarian organizations, etc.). I send this to you here before I go formal time simply because it is a personal thing. So if you have the desire and time - then this would have been the most beautiful conclusion of an important day. All good, Heidi Austlid

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Re: Inspiration for the book - emails to the family

#2 Post by TharsMom » Wed Oct 16, 2019 7:47 am

Very dear subject for me. I also lost my son to DMD. He played online in SWG- Starwars Galaxies. He reached people around the world in ways I can barely grasp. I have talked with some of the people my Werner played with. Running through towns in races, dancing and rolling about on the ground-things he could no longer do, seems to be across the board. I am glad to hear of your book. I am also working on a similar project, to get the word out about the impact of gaming and the social opportunity it provides to people that would otherwise be left out. My kind regards to you and your family.
Cindy B. Sternberg
ps> I also played WOW, up to 2015. I may well have played alongside your son. My character was Oldbag lvl 90 DK.

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Re: Inspiration for the book - emails to the family

#3 Post by Nomine » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:07 am

I am so glad that the positive stories about gaming and the communities are starting to emerge, more people seeing and understanding how this gives people opportunities they would not otherwise have. Of course there are challenges, but there always is.

Would love to hear more about your project.

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Re: Inspiration for the book - emails to the family

#4 Post by Syrawenn » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:47 am

Dear Cindy,
Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am glad you may find some solace in the knowledge that your son lived a richer life through his games. I would be very interested to hear more about your book.
Kind regards,

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Re: Inspiration for the book - emails to the family

#5 Post by TharsMom » Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:03 am

Thanks people.
Over the years since our son passed, I've engaged in many quite heated discussions on the value of disabled kids and gaming. No one knew my boy had md, on his game. It was glaring that he loved to run races, drive his random pets and vehicles.... He was a stategic genius, apparently. There was a lot I did not know, but I knew what it meant to him. I actually spent 25 hours straight to get the drivers and software and install a better graphics card, and to see him step through the door with his character and be slaughtered by a level one spider--then got more memory for the pc..... I couldn't take him hunting, or racing, or any of those things, without his online game.
Many families went through the heart ache, many now, and many to come.
My book project is specifically about kids like Werner, and Mats. They deeply touched the lives of people they might never have known. Those are the stories I'm after. If anyone wishes to send stories, no matter how small, feel free. They will be treated with a mother's care. I will add my email to this message, and if anyone does not want their replies included, that's ok, just say. I miss my boy, but his memory is a key reason I'm on this journey now. I enrolled in university, English. :shock: But, my professor said I write from the dark side somewhat....I didn't take offence, how would she know my SWG affiliations... I am a good writer, and I will do honour to the young men that provide the memories to us.

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