President Obama delivered a speech in Oklahoma, highlighting the importance of spreading broadband internet to low-income communities and calling it an important step to boosting the national economy.
“Even old folks like me know it’s important,” he joked, pointing out that people did everything on the internet including applying for a job, taking classes, paying bills, ordering pizza, and finding dates.
“The Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” he added. “You cannot connect with today’s economy without having access to the Internet.”
But Obama clarified that he didn’t want Americans to spend all their time on the internet or on their phones, admitting that he was surprised that when young people met him, they just held their phones up to capture the moment.
“I always tell young people when I meet them, sometimes they just have the phone up, I’m standing right in front of them and I got to tell them, young man, put down that phone. Shake the hand of your President,” he said. “And then after you shake my hand and look me in the eye, and told me your name, then you can maybe go back to taking pictures.”
Obama encouraged Americans to be willing to put their technology aside and having real conversations with people.
“This is something I talk to Malia and Sasha about. We don’t let those phones at the dinner…” he began before trailing off.
“But that’s a whole other story,” he admitted. “I went off track.”