In Reutlingen, a city in the southern German region of Swabia, a road sign was recently erected for which there are no provisions under the German Road Traffic Act (StVO) (Source). It depicts two pedestrians engrossed in their smartphones and warns against the dangers of what are known as “Smombies” – smartphone zombies! This term refers to all people who are transfixed by their smartphones and walk down the street without paying any attention to things going on around them, interested only in the likes of Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. In order to protect these oblivious pedestrians from the dangers of traffic on the roads around them, the Augsburger Stadtwerke has already installed traffic lights at ground level. This is an enlightening example of how cell phones and the internet are changing the world around us. For a long time now, it has not just been young people, but also men and women above the age of 50, who have discovered for themselves the comprehensive advantages offered by cell phones and smartphones. You can read more on this in our current Focustopic.
Claudia Gaspar, GfK Verein