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Schmidt challenges grads to turn off the screen for an hour a day

Google's chairman emeritus tells Boston University graduates: "Take your eyes off that screen and look into the eyes of the person you love."

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaking at the LeWeb conference.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaking at a conference last year. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Eric Schmidt has some advice for college graduates: unplug for an hour a day.

"Take one hour a day and turn that thing off," Google's chairman emeritus told graduates today at Boston University, receiving approving applause from the audience, according to a Reuters account of the speech. "Take your eyes off that screen and look into the eyes of the person you love. Have a conversation, a real conversation."

His remarks came halfway through an address focused on the benefits of electronic tools such as social media. "A distinctive feature of your new world is that you can be unique while being completely connected," which, he said, was a "fulfillment of the American dream."

Schmidt steered clear of recent big-headline events in the tech world, such as Facebook's IPO, focusing instead on a traditional message that urged graduates to set their goals high and not to be afraid of failure.

"You are emblems of the sense of possibility that will define this age," he said, adding that, "If you're awake, you're online, you're connected. Some of you are probably tweeting this speech right now."

Indeed, more than a dozen people at the ceremony tweeted about Schmidt's address from the audience.

Schmidt embellished a bit on the theme of today's social technologies, per an account of the speech at BU Today:

"You're connected to each other in ways those who came before you could never have dreamed of. You're using these connections to strengthen the invisible ties that hold humanity together and to deepen our understanding of the world around us."

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