As the internet grows, allowing people to be connected almost 24 hours a day, the changes are becoming more noticeable, especially with the younger generations. Director Beeban Kidron noticed that almost every teenager she encountered was constantly staring at their phones. Deciding to investigate how these technological changes were affecting teens, Kidron speaks to them directly, learning how this new world is affecting their views on friendships and sexuality, as well as the addictive nature of this connected world.

InRealLife explores a relatively new challenge faced by parents around the world, but also a problem that can just as easily affect those same parents. Many of us are connected constantly, and the fact that people spend almost as much time looking at their phones as they do speaking to the person in front of them, one has to wonder what kind of changes this is creating in our lives. This documentary starts with the most obvious example, but also a rather shocking one; pornography.

Two teens show how easily they can find pornography, not exactly a surprise, but it’s the way that they realize how it’s affected their actual relationships that will shock viewers. They openly admit to finding it difficult to form a proper relationship with a girl, having strange expectations after having watched so much porn. From there, Kidron speaks to a young girl about the importance of her phone. After losing her cell phone, she resorts to performing sexual acts to earn the money for a new one, as she can’t imagine living without it. While incredibly disturbing, this is also the moment where the film loses traction.

A girl who will perform sexual acts to get a new phone instantly speaks about addiction, and the problems with our constantly connected world, but Kidron doesn’t really explore this point beyond listening to this story. That is a drastic example of how the internet is changing kids. It’s hard to imagine that someone would resort to sexual acts to replace a book, but here’s a girl doing just that to replace her connectivity. Instead of looking deeper into the numerous addiction problems the internet seems to be causing, Kidron just peeks, leaving the film feeling rather shallow.

Is InRealLife opening weekend worthy?

This is a little hard to call. The film is certainly eye opening, but feels a lot like half a question. There seems to be a lot of missed opportunities for a deep look at a shocking problem, so it becomes the beginning of a bigger discussion. This is a great place to start, but isn’t in depth enough to be essential.

InRealLife opens Friday, December 6, 2013 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Check their website for more information.

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