Patrick Urges BU Graduates To Be Wary Of E-Gadgets

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Gov. Deval Patrick advised graduating Boston University students on Sunday to put down their tablets, smart phones and other electronic devices and connect with others using instead human feelings of empathy and kindness.

He said too many people text, tweet, surf the Internet and email while barely acknowledging the presence of others.

"Real human connection, the nuance of empathy and understanding is often more gradual and elongated than Twitter," Patrick said. "It requires intimacy. And I worry that the demands of constant communication and infinite information through social media are crowding out intimacy."

For example, comforting the survivors of the Boston marathon bombing last year required a human touch, he said.

"That wouldn't work by text or tweet," Patrick said. "It demands intimacy. Whether healing an individual or healing the world, healing itself requires being present."

Patrick, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree, said social media can start a revolution.

"But can it bring peace," he asked. "You can break up on Facebook or text but can you also fall in love?"

"Sometime today, put your tablet and your smart phone aside, look your mom and dad in the eye and tell them you love them," Patrick said.

This article was originally published on May 18, 2014.