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:
SCOR) found that smartphone-owning Americans were spending nearly five hours a week browsing the Internet, nearly double the rate of their British counterparts. The overall mobile market fares no better, with ComScore's latest mobile-market survey finding 64% of subscribers texting, 30% browsing the Internet, 22% playing games and 19% checking social-media sites. That latter segment, the one playing Farmville and Tweeting all of their friends' usernames on Follow Friday, has increased its ranks from 6.5% of all mobile-phone users last year to 11% this year. That includes a 112% jump in mobile Facebook users and a 347% hike in Twitter usage. If you think usage is getting smarter with advancing generations, the Pew Research Center and media marketers assure you it's not. Pew found that last year, 88% of teens use their phones primarily to text their friends, with roughly 54% texting daily. Overall, the Yankee Group found that texting ate up 27 minutes a day for the average American. Is all this making us dumber? Not necessarily. A study conducted last year by Experian Simmons found that mobile devices are helping Americans multitask better by cramming 38 hours worth of activity into a 24-hour day. But considering a Best Buy ( BBY) survey last year that found 47% of supposedly savvy smartphone were confused about how to operate their devices, the quality of the 38 hours of activity they're performing is open to debate.