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TheStreet Open House

Obama Was Right on Gadgets, Gaming, Internet

Stocks in this article: AAPLMSFTSNE

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Your Apple (AAPL) iPad, Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox and Sony (SNE) PlayStation are distractions, and not just because the president says so.

When President Obama warned Hampton University's graduating class that gadgets such as the beloved iPad are blunting America's education, fanboys and bloggers heard a BlackBerry-toting, Facebook page-having, YouTube-addressing hypocrite growling "gadgets baaaad!" What they didn't see -- mostly because nothing kills a commencement speech quite like a PowerPoint presentation -- were the numbers and nuance underlying Obama's argument.

According to a one-year survey released earlier this year by the Kaiser Family Foundation, American children ages 8 to 18 are spending more than seven and a half hours consuming media through electronic devices. That's up from six and a half hours five years ago. But that's misleading because multitasking crams nearly 11 hours worth of media into that seven and a half hours. Among the heaviest users, who consumed 16 hours of media a day, 47% had grades of C or lower and reported boredom or trouble at school, compared to 23% of those who consumed three hours or fewer.

Devices like the iPad have the potential to enhance education -- Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., and George Fox University in Newberg, Ore., will be giving them to incoming students - but, right now, they're not living up to it. Here are four examples of how technology has excelled in turning information into distraction:

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