A Frightening Documentary on Web Rehab

Posted by David Konow

You can get addicted to practically anything, and there was once an episode on the A&E show Intervention that dealt with gaming addiction. But these are extreme cases, and it’s hard to take stories like this too seriously because a lot of people spend way too much time on the net and playing games, which doesn’t necessarily make them junkies. 

Still, there’s a documentary called Web Junkie about rehabs in China that deprogram teens from the net, and it sounds like pretty frightening stuff. One such place is the Internet Addiction Treatment Center in Beijing, and as the Daily Beast tells us, China is one of the first countries that has seriously considered net addiction a serious disorder and a threat to young people. 
 
The documentary Web Junkie premiered at Sundance, and a number of kids in the film say that they were tricked by their families into being imprisoned in the center. The place seems more like an Orwellian-style brainwashing center, and in one scene they sing a song together that contains the lyrics, “Following orders is an obligation! We must remember the rules and regulations! We should follow orders and not violate them!” 
 
To be fair, one kid at the center played World of Warcraft for ten hours straight, another claimed he played for nearly fifteen days straight with only small naps for rest. The concern, one addiction specialist at the center said, is that these kids “think that the real world is not as good as the virtual world.” 
 
The Daily Beast wasn’t the only site that found this documentary compelling. This film has gotten rave reviews from a number of places, and we hope that exposure to this film will shed a strong light, not on net addiction, but in rehab reform, because this place sounds like a pretty scary environment for anybody, let alone teenagers.