Monday, July 13, 2015

Web Junkies - Shosh Shlam - Film Maker

In China, “Internet addiction” is a clinical disorder. 'Web Junkie' enters a Beijing rehab center where Chinese teenagers are "deprogrammed". (Shosh Shlam/Web Junkie)

In the days long before Bill Gates and the internet, I had a part-time job working the switch board for the University I was attending. My work space was an isolated cement walled, windowless room, containing the switch board, and a very large machine like contraption, a monstrous and monolithic like computer that took up the length of one wall. It made all manner of noises and I saw no one from the time I started work until I finished my shift.

In the early 70s I knew nothing about computers, nor did I want to know anything about them. although many of us who grew up in the 60s wanted to think of ourselves as open minded. You know, free love, peace, 'down with the man' and all that Hippie jargon. Many of us thought computers were like making a deal with the devil, they were going to be just plain bad for our world, and for human beings generally.

I remember in my late teens living in the city of Halifax there was a young man I considered rather odd. He was in retrospect he was way ahead of the learning curve, being very involved with computers, working for Dalhousie University in computer science. I thought this was a strange a mysterious thing to study, and I just dismissed him as being quirky.

Fast forward over forty years, really not that long ago, it's a whole new world thanks to computers and the internet. It's simultaneously wonderful and terrifying, as this technological development, has not  only changed our world 360 degrees, but has indeed changed human beings and most importantly our children.

This film is disturbing, and has an important foreboding message and commentary about our "connected" society. Perhaps those of us that grew up in the 60s weren't so far off the mark after all regarding our concerns about computers.

Here's a link to listen to the interview with the documentary's film maker Shosh Shlam on CBC Q


thesycamoretree said...

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... I think anything can be an addiction if it is used to escape reality and affects one's physical and/or mental health. I don't think the U.S. would call the internet an addiction because the parents are just as attached to it as their kids.

Unknown said...

All great points Bev. And what she said about the internet being a social phenomenon, whatever it is can be an addiction. Those of us that know how addiction work are very aware of how anything can be addictive. It isn't what's going on outside of ourselves, but rather what is going on inside. And the loneliness factor have reached epidemic level. Sign of the times.