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Today's society is full of virtual reality: television, video games, email, mobile phones and manga that saps children of their strength.

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Celebrated Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, speaking at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. He would like to see kids today spend more time outside rather than in front of a screen. (AP)

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Yeah outside where they get abducted or run over by drunks. What would they do outside? With all that concrete and pollution no wonder they stay inside and use their imagination.

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I think what he means is that these devices are anti-social, and I tend to agree with him. However, his work is also a part of the society he is criticizing. I can't remember the last time I saw a child reading a book.

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"I can't remember the last time I saw a child reading a book."

We should not be blaming TV or video games, etc. Look to the parents, who should be considering the balance in their kids' lives. Good parenting is the answer.

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However, his work is also a part of the society he is criticizing. I can't remember the last time I saw a child reading a book.

Not to be an apologist, but Miyazaki's films pull from much, much older traditions of storytelling that typically involve higher levels of intellectual stimulation.

The things he is mentioning are very simple, and don't really do much in the way of getting the grey matter flowing. They also attempt to act as a substitute for reality. It's a difficult point, but a valid one nonetheless: there is a difference between escapism and presenting a virtual reality with the trappings of "real" reality. When you text someone, you're interacting with a phone, not a person. When you watch TV news, you're seeing a packaged version of the real world, not the real world itself. This DOES have an effect.

Which leads to...

I think what he means is that these devices are anti-social, and I tend to agree with him.

While I can't disagree in a technical sense, I honestly wouldn't put him in the same category as those other, vastly more intellectually passive, forms. I should also probably point out that the subject of his first sentence of "today's society," not "virtual reality." This would mean that the problem is that society is full of this stuff, not that these things are inherently bad.

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I don't see anything wrong with TV, video games, etc, as long as they don't impair a child's ability to learn. They can be just as educational as reading books, for example. I'm not sure what Miyazaki means by "saps children of their strength." Perhaps it is a bad translation. Maybe he means "creative power" or something like that.

What does concern me, however, is when TV, video games, Internet, cell phones and manga start to substitute for the real world for children and young adults. That's where the bullied, the outcast, the alienated, the rejected can find a haven. Where once it was cults, now it is a virtual world. Out of that world comes individuals like the guy who ran amok in Akihabara in June.

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A big part of the problem here is lack of parental time and lack of open space. When I was bringing up my kids in the UK evenings and weekends it was easy for us all to make a trip to the beach or the hills, kick a ball around, walk the dog.

In big cities here there are few places to do that and in any case daddy will be chained to his desk in the office.

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Pretty funny how he omits movies from that list.

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It's human evolution, dude. In 1000 years we will just be round beachballs with tiny brains.

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More like, prohibits the development of strength in delicate and critical areas.

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I think he is right. TV, computer games and DVDs are harmful to humans and especially children.

If children watch a screen then they are using their senses in a highly focused way. Their ears and eyes especially will not be able to differentiate where sights and sounds are coming from accurately if all they've had to practise on is a box with flat pictures which emits sound.

And on top of this the TV is effectively an electronic baby-sitter. An awake and aware child will have brain waves which can be measured in the 'beta' range. But when he/she is perched in front of a TV his brain will very rapidly change to an 'alpha' state. This is a sedated state. It is not unlike hypnotism that it is applied unknowingly.

My kids have never lived in a house where there is a TV. I won't allow it. Neither do they get computer games. My kids do other stuff like drawing, reading and playing with lego-type toys when the weather is bad, and they are outside on their bikes or making hidey-holes in the woods when the weather isn't bad. (But mostly fighting and squabbling).

Teach your TV to fly and turn your computer games into frisbees or something. Life without TV is great!

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Pretty funny how he omits movies from that list.

He's not separating himself from the list. Movies last at most 3 hours and cost 8 bucks at most (here in the U.S). You don't spend all day and a lot of money on the movie theater. At most you see one movie in a day and that's it. His movies do come out on DVD. That's where he includes himself in it.

When you watch TV or Play Video games or on the internet, your on your butt way more than just 3 hours. I wasted my childhood when I was a kid. All I did was watch cartoons and play video games when I got home from school. I hate myself everyday for that. Now I live on my own and I don't have my television hooked up with cable. I use it to watch movie's occasionally, next to not at all.

I download a lot of movies and such on my computer, but I go with out watching anything for days on end cause its more controlled. If you have a TV you spend almost an hour looking for something good on. Where if I download what I want, I can watch it, be done with it, and go outside.

If you had a TV, you would have to be in at a certain time to catch what you want to watch. Even if you had a DVR, you record a lot and watch it all at once. As well as your show comes on in 30 mins, what do you do to kill time? You watch TV.

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