Google executive Eric Schmidt challenged college graduates May 20 by offering simple, yet ironic advice in his commencement address at Boston University: "Take one hour a day and turn that thing off," he said, speaking about technology usage (i.e., iPhone, iPad, laptop, desktop, BlackBerry, Kindle, etc.), to an audience that had grown up relying on his company's search engine and other services.
Here's an excerpt of Schmidt's speech:
"What's the first thing that you guys do when you wake up? Right? Check your phone, your laptop. Read some emails. Comb through your social networks. I'm awake, here I am! Right? If you're awake, you're online, you're connected. Some of you are probably texting right now, or tweeting the speech, changing your status."
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Schmidt's said his message was not meant to be anti-technology, but more along the line of anti-being-ruled-by technology.
His advice provided context around his broader message that electronic tools such as social media are positive forces, provided they are used effectively, reported Reuters.
"People bemoan this generation that is growing up living life in front of screens, always connected to something or someone," he said, reported in a script by The Washington Post. "These people are wrong. ... The fact that we're all connected now is a blessing, not a curse."
Expressing some naivety about the, now public, Facebook company, Schmidt told students that it isn't enough to just "push a button saying 'I like something' -- actually tell them. Life is not lived in the glow of a monitor. Life is not a series of status updates."
Here's some statistics to help determine the practicality of Schmidt's advice:
Among those who text, teenage girls 14 to 17 sent a median of 100 messages daily in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.
More than half of children 5 to 8 have used an iPad, iPhone or other touch-screen device to watch videos, play games or engage in other activities, according to a 2011 report by Common Sense Media. Just 11 percent of children 8 and younger use such a device on a typical day, but for an average of 43 minutes. You can guess where this is trending.
Source: Oregon.com; Pew Research Center; Common Sense Media; Reuters.