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Web Junkie Filmmaker Interview Premiering on PBS Series POV

By July 13, 2015

As a digital family, one of my concerns is how we use technology. While I agree the use of technology is a good thing, with some many children and teens growing up using technology and being online, internet addiction has become a growing problem around the world. What can we do as a society?

Filmmaker Interview for Web Junkie on POV PBS Series

Note: I received an advanced screening for the purpose of this review. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

In film Web Junkie, premiering Monday, July 13, 2015 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) on the PBS series POV (Point of View), we get a view of how China is using a unique way of treating teens who can't get off their electronic devices.

Web Junkie will also stream online July 14-Aug.13 on www.pbs.org/pov/webjunkie

Should you make time to watch it? I say yes.

To be very honest, it's a raw emotional look at internet addiction treatment that has a layer of Chinese culture. While some scenes are upsetting from an American point of view, the underling story is one that all families can relate to. We want to help these kids understand they have a form of addiction, take the steps to be better and continue to live meaningful and successful lives.

To learn more about how Web Junkie was filmed and what American families can take away from it, I interviewed Hilla Medalia, Director/Producer.

Filmmaker Interview for Web Junkie on POV PBS Series

Onica (MommyFactor}: How did you start the process of making Web Junkie

Hilla Medalia: Shosh Shlam (co-Director/Producer) saw a segment on Australian television about China rehab centers and a story about a kid that was beaten to death. So we went to China to learn more about the camps.

We went to China, because it was the first place to deal with internet addiction with these rehab centers. We wanted to bring this issue to open, to start a discussion about internet addiction. The dark side of internet addiction, and how the internet affects our everyday communication.

Onica (MommyFactor}: What are some of the underlining issues with internet addictions

Hilla Medalia: Part of the problem, is that we want our kids to be tech savvy and online. We encourage kids to use technology. In the world we live in they need to use it for school, work etc. One of the biggest issues is that we're surrounded by it and need to use it.

In China internet addiction is measured about how much time is spent online. If your on the internet more then 6 hours doing non school or work related acclivities then you have an issue.

For us film makers it's important not to judge. We just want to observe and bring awareness.

Onica (MommyFactor}: How can families take steps to prevent internet addictions

Hilla Medalia: I think we have to remember to monitor, not just get stuck with using the internet and technology. We have to watch how we use it and make sure kids get offline and outside to socialize and doing other thing. If they don't then kids lose their inter-social skills.

A great point to remember. While technology is an awesome tool, there's no substitute for connection with others in real life.

Filmmaker Interview for Web Junkie on POV PBS Series

Internet addiction has been declared a national health crisis in China, the first country in the world to classify this evolving diagnosis. Web Junkie follows the treatment of three Chinese teenagers, obsessive gamers whose preference for the virtual world over the real one is summed up in one jarring statement: "Reality is too fake."

Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia gained extraordinary access to a three-month military-style rehab program in Beijing, illuminating a process that, while stern, may help set a standard as the wider world comes to grips with the devastating consequences of excessive Internet use.

To learn more about Web Junkie, visit - www.webjunkiemovie.com

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