A study released on Monday has shown that the vast majority of Germans believe the Internet has revamped their life for the better. Minuses like the rising tide of cyberfraud, cyberstalking and spam cannot cancel out the several positives the internet has offered to their hi-tech lives.
Nearly nine in 10 citizens of Europe's biggest economic power said the Internet was a blessing and 55 percent could not imagine life without it, according to the poll published by the BITKOM trade group on the eve of CeBIT, the world's biggest high-tech fair.
"People under 30 would rather do without their cars or their current partners than the Internet or their mobiles," BITKOM president August-Wilhelm Scheer told reporters.
The survey of 1,002 Germans aged 14 or older showed that 98 percent found useful information online. Eighty-seven percent said the Internet allowed them more flexibility both personally and professionally, and the same number said it had opened up a new world of entertainment.
Seven in 10 said the Web helped them make money or use it more wisely, 61 percent said it had improved their general knowledge and 53 percent said it had allowed them to save money on purchases.
Nearly a third of respondents said social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and their German equivalents had helped them expand their circle of friends while more than one in five said the Internet was playing a growing role in their social life.
"Our study shows that the Web is not an anonymous medium that leads to coldness in society," Scheer said. "The Web helps create actual relationships -- it does not foster autism and dehumanisation."
The CeBIT starts Tuesday with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as its guest of honour. Along with new gadgets and innovations in the world of computers, telecommunications and consumer electronics, the event this year is spotlighting the social impact of the Internet.
The fair will wrap up Sunday.