Web Junkie

PBS Premiere: July 13, 2015Check the broadcast schedule »

Filmmaker Statement

Technology has become the architect of our intimacy. We communicate in a new language of abbreviation in which letters stand for words and emoticons for feelings. We are increasingly connected to each other but oddly more alone. In intimacy, we have found a new solitude. The complexity of the Internet can be difficult to illustrate as it is a result of culture but simultaneously shapes it.

Similarly, Internet addiction is both a personal and social phenomenon. It is a universal issue that is becoming progressively all encompassing as the boundaries between the real and the virtual become increasingly blurred. Through this process, we could not help but feel that something is lost in the physical, 'real,' everyday lives of those living in the Western world. This phenomenon, these feelings are what inspired us to take this journey.

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. 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.

Web Junkie exposes the virtual world, the ways that it transcends cultural boundaries and influences the evolution of culture. Will these techniques be successful? Is this militaristic treatment effective or advisable? Is it possible to 'cure' these young kids? Will they be able to handle life outside the virtual world? And on the topic of human rights, is it enough that the government requires only the parent's agreement in order to hold these children against their will? These questions were our guide through this process and directed us while we were making the film.

Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia, Directors