Web Junkie (2013)

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Web Junkie: Directed by Hilla Medalia, Shosh Shlam. With Ran Tao. This uniquely telling film takes an entertaining and unsettling look into Chinese rehabilitation centers treating internet addiction, which the Chinese government has classified as a serious clinical disorder.

“In China internet addiction has apparently got so out of control that the government have set up a special clinic to deal with it. Run on military lines, the clinic has all the appearance of a boot camp, with the inmates dressed in army uniform, spending their days doing drills and submitting themselves to the will of a sadistic sergeant. In between they receive counseling and medication, as well as frequent meetings between themselves and their parents.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHilla Medalia and Shosh Shlamu0026#39;s documentary paints a frightening picture of the extent to which some teenagers are addicted to war- games, spending several hours, if not days at the computer, and even wearing diapers rather than going to the bathroom, for fear that they will not improve their scores. For them, the virtual world seems superior to the u0026#39;realu0026#39; world, insofar that it offers them more excitement and thrills. Despite the treatment meted out in the boot camp, many of the teenagers remain convinced that they can easily be cured without recourse to such extreme methods.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOn the other hand, WEB JUNKIE does prompt speculation about whether the filmmakers are trying to portray contemporary China as an authoritarian society, despite its moves towards capitalism. It seems that old-established values are slow to change. If this is the case, then the film could be regarded as an orientalist piece, confirming the superiority of western democratic values to those practiced in communist China. The old Cold War binary has been reinvented, proving, perhaps, that it is not only the Chinese who are reluctant to change and embraces new globalized values.”

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