ABUSE: In a radical psychosocial experiment, the scope of online child abuse in the Czech Republic is uncovered.
Carmen Gray
Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
Published date: March 10, 2020

In its more halcyon early days, the internet was welcomed into households for its utopian possibilities. A constantly updating trove of searchable information made bound encyclopaedia sets all but obsolete; email and social media promised to connect citizens of the world, no longer segmented into tribes by physical distance, in greater cultural understanding. In the rush of enthusiasm, the old truth was suspended, that tools are only as enlightened as their users. Darker recesses of networked life, it has since emerged, are manifold. The purportedly benign but aggressively vocal form of public peer surveillance that is social media has flattened the complexity of human interactions, and the private, once inaccessible to strangers, can feel less cordoned off. Anyone can «slide into your DMs» with the brashness of near-anonymity, hiding behind a screen. Society’s dubious, even malevolent elements can seek each other out more efficiently, unchecked and unseen, and build sub-communities; they can also find direct routes to the vulnerable, amid a deluge of virtual, unregulated traffic.

online child abuse-documentary-MTR-post1
Caught in the Net, a film by Vít Klusák & Barbora Chalupová

Egregious abuses

Czech documentarian Vit Klusák touched on the way in which the internet can be harnessed by less edifying personalities in his previous documentary, The White World According to Daliborek. It portrayed the daily life of a hapless, middle-aged neo-Nazi, living in smalltown Moravia with his chain-smoking mother. Resentful after she finds a boyfriend through an online dating site, he falls deeper into nationalism as a bedroom hobbyist, making and posting bigoted songs and videos to YouTube. Klusák’s latest feature Caught in the Net, co-directed with Barbora Chalupová, which screens at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, confronts the most egregious abuses of online connectivity. Labeled a «psychosocial experiment,» it is …

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