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Don’t waste time on ‘futile’ internet and smartphones, Pope tells youth
06 August 2014 13:47 by Liz Dodd

Pope Francis has told a crowd of 50,000 young German altar servers gathered in St Peter’s Square yesterday not to waste their lives on “futile” distractions such as chatting on the internet or on smartphones.

Asked by one of the young people how to make time for assisting at Mass, Pope Francis said that excessive use of the internet and social media distracted them from what was really important.

"Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things, chatting on the internet or with smart phones, watching TV soap operas, and [using] the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, but which distract one's attention away from what is really important," he said.

Pope Francis surprised the crowd by greeting them in German, which is not a language he uses frequently.

Acknowledging that young people are often torn between many different commitments including school and church, he advised: “You need to organise your lives a little, plan things in a balanced way.”

“But you are German, this comes naturally to you."

Above: Pope Francis holds hands with youths during meeting with altar servers in St. Peter's Square. Photo: CNS photo/ Stefano Rellandini, Reuters