(A faithful takes a picture with a tablet computer as Pope Francis arrives to conduct his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

(A faithful takes a picture with a tablet computer as Pope Francis arrives to conduct his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

Pope Francis on Tuesday urged 50,000 German altar servers not to waste time on the Internet, smartphones and television, but to spend their time on more productive activities.

“Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things,” the pope said in a short speech to the altar servers – young people who help the priest during religious services – who had come to Rome on a pilgrimage.

“Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions.”

Activities cited by Francis as futile were: “chatting on the Internet or with smartphones, watching TV soap operas, and (using) the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, but distract attention away from what is really important.”