Release date:August 6, 2014
Studio:Kino Lorber Films
Directors:Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia
"Web Junkie" explores the controversial question of whether internet “addiction” is symptomatic of a psychological disorder found (mainly) in teenage boys and, if so, how best to treat it. “Electronic heroin” and “web addiction”: that’s how Chinese authorities refer to internet activity of more than six hours a day, not related to work or studying. And China has built more than 400 rehabilitation camps for the mostly teenage boys, ages 13 – 18, who are “afflicted.” They arrive at Daxing Boot Camp, in a Beijing suburb, apparently having been tricked, drugged, or physically coerced by their parents. "Web Junkie," an eye-opening documentary, is filmed almost entirely in this camp (where the filmmakers were given extraordinary access) – a surreal mix of prison, hospital, and military operation, with a dose of group therapy thrown in for good measure. Both parents and their children participate in the therapy sessions and these scenes make for some of the movie’s saddest and most revealing moments. The film suggests that Chinese officials have no idea how to cope with a younger generation that finds World of Warcraft more exciting and more real than their own lives. And it portrays a profoundly distressing conundrum experienced by parents of teenagers worldwide: how to communicate with their wildly disgruntled children, and how to help them find meaning in their lives.