Just over 2 years for mine and I've had no problems. As long as you don't drop them, flip them around, and keep it away from magnets it should be fine. Data Recovery ain't cheap though, so if you have reason to worry I'd back up everything important on DVD.
Well, "take care" is just a general way of saying obvious things like don't drop it, spill shit on it, and when you transport it, wrap it in something soft or protective to keep it from being hit or knocked around. Stupid stuff, you know? Like keeping magnets away from it! I've actually seen someone do that then wonder why their data was corrupted.
Schools really need to be required by law to teach classes on computer basics.