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Shift

Internet Addicts Losing Touch with Reality

A growing number of people spend a large part of the day online: both at home and at work. The trend has been exacerbated by the rise of the smartphone, which provides access to the Internet wherever you are. Researchers warn about the detrimental effect on people’s social lives.

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The number of smartphone users is increasing every year. A survey by Google shows that while 18% of people in Germany owned a smartphone in 2011, the figure is set to rise to 29% this year. For some users, switching off their Blackberry or iPhone and being unavailable has become a rare luxury. German philosopher and artist Bazon Brock heads an institute called "Denkerei” in Berlin. He fears that individuals are dumbing down thanks to the new technology. Thomas Schildhauer, professor at the Institute of Electronic Business, has called for "online-free phases”, in which people can reconnect to the real world.