Do you believe that your child has an “internet addiction”? In the United States, it is not considered to be a real condition or disorder. In China, however, it is believed to be both real and dangerous. A film called “Web Junkie” gives people a look into the lives of teens who are sent for treatment for their internet addiction.
“Web Junkie” is a documentary that was created by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia. It was released in 2014, and is currently available on Netflix. It focuses on some of the teenage boys who were sent to Daxing Boot Camp in order to get treatment for their internet addiction.
It is debatable whether or not internet addiction is really a mental health condition. What is true is that the boys whose parents sent them to the Daxing Boot Camp had been playing video games for so many hours that it more than likely was unhealthy. One teen said he played video games ten hours a day, every day. That’s longer than most American’s work shifts!
Other teens talked about falling asleep – briefly – while playing an online video game, and then immediately continuing to play the instant they woke up. They were doing this for days on end in an internet cafe. Some were so concerned that leaving the computer to go to the bathroom would harm their progress in the video game – that they choose to wear diapers while they played.
I do not agree with everything that the people in charge of the camp said, did, or taught the teens. However, there were some key points that are useful for parents of teens who play video games to know. Dr. Tao, the man in charge, explained that the one thing all the teens had in common, other than their interest in video games, was that they were all very lonely.
The teens had no siblings. They were unable to communicate well with their parents. Some of this probably had something to do with being a teenager. However, a few of the parents admitted that they had said or done things to their son that would be considered very abusive by American standards. In addition, the teens felt they had no friends – outside of the ones they could meet in the video games they played online.
I think that is something that parents can take from the documentary and bring into their own lives. If your teen is playing online video games for ten hours a day, every day, it is time to get involved. Is your teen lonely? Start spending more time with your teen. Let him or her know that you love them. Take the initiative to improve your relationship with your teen.
Image by Rachel Strohm on Flickr.
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