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“Web Junkie” Captures China’s Internet Addiction Disorder

With China as the first and only country in the world to have internet addiction disorder classified as an actual clinical condition, rehab camps now exist for treatment.  Filmmaker, Shosh Shlam, created the upcoming documentary “Web Junkie” to capture what occurs at a rehabilitation center set on a military base south of Beijing.

Internet Addiction Disorder

Addiction Is Brain Disease

According to CBS News, internet addiction may produce effects in the brain similar to that of alcohol and drugs, impacting emotions, the ability to make decisions, and have control.

Well-known director, writer, and producer, Shosh Shlam, filmed the documentary “Web Junkie” and stated China has more than 400 rehab centers specifically for internet addiction disorder because it’s seen as “a big threat to the Chinese society,” but “China is only a mirror of what the western world is facing too.”  Shlam spoke about China being most impacted because of its communistic culture, mentioning how popular web sites like Facebook and YouTube are prohibited in the country.

Addicted individuals are thought to have initially latched onto their gaming experience and ended up hooked on the internet because they wanted to connect with others.  Gaming addiction is often linked with games like World of War Craft, which is an American online game that allows users to play with other people anywhere in the world.  China has a strict one child only policy, so many children grow up alone, which can compel them to crave connections with others.  Gaming creates the false illusion of connection, but the reality is that it places users in greater isolation.

Internet Addiction Disorder Treatment

Shlam mentioned treatment begins with parents “tricking” their children into the military based rehab.  The teenage boys are given sleeping pills and wake up essentially imprisoned at the rehab camp site.

During an interview with Q Radio, host Shad questioned, “They drug their kids, you said?” Shlam immediately responded, “Exactly.  The parent, yes, drugs their kids to come in because for the parents this is maybe the last solution to cure their only child.”

According to Shlam, parents feel desperate because obsession has taken over their child’s life.  There’s an intense fear in parents that if their children don’t receive any treatment, then they will continue with the cycle of their addiction and keep gaming, leading to them to drop out of school for more time to game.  Parents understand that without an education, they significantly decrease their opportunities for a successful future in China.

Another portion of the teenage boys’ treatment at the rehab camps includes isolation – without even a pencil and paper – so that they can learn to reconfigure their thoughts.  Having been so consumed with gaming and the internet, these boys were no longer able to understand their own thought process, and require what Shlam referred to as “brainwashing” on “why internet is a dangerous and dark place to be.”

People suffering from internet addiction disorder have a tendency to speak less one-on-one with others, become more consumed with devices and screens, and get wrapped in the virtual realm.  They may even lose inner dialogue and relationships.

According to Shlam, there’s been a noticeable increase in younger males who have stopped dating and no longer desire to have children, which is a significant change for mankind.

Shlam also revealed that at the end of her documentary, professionals have parents hug their children.  This may sound normal to many cultures, but Chinese culture is introverted.  Shlam expressed a huge part of the problem that may have contributed to these teenage boys’ internet addiction problem was a complex family relationship.

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