“Web Junkie offers a troubling glimpse into anxieties that are hardly China’s alone.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Web Junkie premieres Monday, July 13, 2015, at 10 PM on PBS stations.
Internet addiction has been declared a national health crisis in China, the first country in the world to classify this evolving diagnosis. Web Junkie follows the treatment of three Chinese teenagers, obsessive gamers whose preference for the virtual world over the real one is summed up in one jarring statement: “Reality is too fake.” Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia gained extraordinary access to a three-month military-style rehab program in Beijing, illuminating a process that, while stern, may help set a standard as the wider world comes to grips with the devastating consequences of excessive Internet use.
“Web Junkie is an emotional voyage that examines the results of Internet addiction and its effects on families and interpersonal relationships, while examining the cultural and emotional effects of this type of treatment,” said filmmaker Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia in a filmmaker statement.”In addition, the film also deals with the way that Chinese society, its culture of hyper-competitiveness, seeks to control what they perceive as the extremely negative effects of the Internet.”
Visit the POV companion site for Web Junkie to watch the full film online for free for a limited time following the broadcast (starting July 14, 2015), find out what’s happened since the cameras stopped rolling, and download a discussion guide and other viewing resources. Share your thoughts and ask questions by using the hashtag #WebJunkie.
For more updates from POV’s 2015 season, subscribe to POV’s documentary blog, like POV on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @povdocs.