Internet addiction the focus of ‘Web Junkie’ documentary

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Brief and timely, this documentary directed by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia is also frustrating. The setting is a division of a Beijing military hospital, where teenage boys are being treated for Internet addiction — more specifically, addiction to “World of Warcraft” and other games like it.

Anybody who’s had to peel a child’s hands off a keyboard can sympathize with these parents wailing that their game-obsessed son isn’t eating or sleeping for days — one teen even admits to wearing a diaper. But it’s soon obvious that locking boys in a hideous institution to stare at bare walls is unlikely to persuade them of the joys of real life. “It’s already not working,” remarks one kid.

The film is fascinating and often darkly funny, but it’s hard not to wish for some actual analysis to flesh out the many scenes of grim people in gray rehab.

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On August 7, 2014
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