Obama stresses education over iPod, Xbox

HAMPTON, Va. Sun May 9, 2010 9:51pm IST

U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to deliver the commencement address at Hampton University in Virginia May 9, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to deliver the commencement address at Hampton University in Virginia May 9, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

Related Topics

HAMPTON, Va. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told college graduates on Sunday the era of the iPod and the Xbox has not always been good for the cause of a strong education.

Obama made the point in a commencement speech to more than 1,000 graduates and thousands of their family and friends gathered on the football field at Hampton University, a historically black college in southeastern Virginia.

Obama said today's college graduates are coming of age at a time of great difficulty for the United States. They face a tough economy for jobs, two wars and a 24/7 media environment not always dedicated to the truth, he said.

Added to the mix are the distractions offered by popular electronic devices that entertain millions of Americans.

"With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said.

"All of this is not only putting new pressures on you. It is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy," Obama said.

Wearing a colorful ceremonial robe, Obama stressed the importance of a good education to adapt to what he called "a period of breathtaking change."

Obama, the United States' first African-American president, said black students face more difficult headwinds than others and are typically outperformed by their white classmates.

He urged the Hampton graduates to be role models and mentors to younger people to teach them the importance of education and personal responsibility.

Obama also said an education can help people sift through the many voices "clamoring for attention on blogs, on cable, on talk radio" and help them find the truth.

"Let's face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I've had some experience with that myself," said Obama.

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

XBOX ONE LAUNCH

Reuters Showcase

New Device

New Device

Facebook's Oculus unveils new virtual reality prototype device.  Full Article 

Slow Rollout

Slow Rollout

Los Angeles iPad rollout for schools slowed by technical challenges - report.  Full Article 

CEO Watch

CEO Watch

When music stops for Oracle CEO dance, Catz may grab Ellison's chair - analysts.  Full Article 

New iPhones

New iPhones

Apple faithful line up for latest, larger iPhones  Full Article 

Cutting Jobs

Cutting Jobs

Microsoft lays off 2,100 as part of earlier job cut plan.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage