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Web Junkie takes audiences inside a Beijing treatment center and explores the cases of three teenagers who suffer from this 21st-century disorder. The program admits children between the ages of 13 and 18, and forces them to undergo military-inspired physical training and comply with monitored sleep and food standards. Despite such conditions, parents voluntarily send their children to the treatment center and relinquish personal involvement.
But as these young teens struggle with online withdrawal and a controversial treatment, questions about the nature of addiction, emotional attachments and cure come to the fore. Ultimately, Web Junkie provides a microcosm of modern Chinese life and takes a hard look at one of the symptoms of the so-called Internet age.
The opening moments of “Web Junkies” are bewildering and surreal: we see a bunch of young Chinese boys stomping around what appear to be military barracks. A title card says that this is the Daxing Boot Camp, in a suburb of Beijing. The camera focuses in on one young boy, still in his room, looking ...