In the year 2000, there were only two million Internet users in the Philippines-roughly the same size of the crowd in the EDSA Revolution. The country's population back then was 75 million. Now, there are over 67 million Internet users in the Philippines, according to Internet World Stats.
We have come a long way since 2000, when the Philippines boasted of its self-proclaimed status as the "Text Capital of the World" like it was a kind of achievement. Now, we are boasting about new kinds of things, albeit still quite quirky: Social Media Captial of the World, Facebook Capital of the World, and Country that Spends the Longest Time on Pornhub (thanks, slow Internet connection).
Filipinos didn't mellow down and stop becoming the world's most prolific texters. We merely found something more sophisticated to replace SMS's with-social media.
Wi-Fi addiction seems to be something we can't seem to avoid. And ever since Internet penetration in the Philippines has become on par with the world, people's demand for a speedy Wi-Fi connection has also grown.
According to a study conducted by iPass, 40 percent of mobile phone users consider Wi-Fi the most important thing for a person to have. Sex comes in second with 37 percent, chocolate in third with 14 percent, and alcohol in fourth with only nine percent. If intimacy falls in the third tier in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, where shall we put Wi-Fi? Clearly, people consider it more important, which could be a sign of addiction.
Below are signs you could be addicted to Wi-Fi.
1. You find it difficult to think.
In a study by Psychology Today, researchers discovered that too much screen time damages the brain. The mere act of holding your phone makes it harder for you to think. In fact, according to the Journal of the Association of Consumer Research, keeping your phone nearby, even if it is switched off, could still impair your thinking ability.
If you feel compelled to check your phone every now and then, try limiting your use. In some workplaces, especially in factories, workers are forced to surrender their phones to management so they can concentrate on their work.
2. You have an extreme reaction when the WI-fi fails.
According to a study in Heliyon, people could have two kinds of negative reactions when the Wi-Fi fails. The first is getting frustrated, which is usually due to people's fear of missing out, especially on social media. The second reaction is the more extreme kind, and is the result of Internet addiction.
"The more we use our devices, the more we get attached to them, so when they don't work, we tend to just go a little bit 'crazy' or just switch off and stop doing things altogether," said Dr. Lee Hadlington, one of the psychologists behind the study.
3. Wi-fi influences your travel choices.
When you plan your trip to a local or foreign destination, is Wi-Fi availability a top priority? Does it influence your travel plans? If it does, you're not alone. According to iPass, 72 percent of people choose their lodgings based on Wi-Fi experience.
Having Wi-Fi is useful when traveling, which is why some people bring portable Wi-Fi to stay connected while abroad. But don't let your sightseeing be constrained by Wi-Fi availability. Explore. Experience different cultures. Take pictures. Record videos. You can upload them all later.
4. You lose sleep because of the internet.
When you find yourself regularly sacrificing that much-needed eight hours of sleep every day just because you can't get off the Wi-Fi, you could be experiencing addiction. Perhaps you stay up late binge-watching a 10-episode Netflix series, or you can't stop yourself from scrolling down pages filled with memes.
For some people, sacrificing sleep just to stay online may be just a temporary phase (they want to finish a series on Netflix but will return to normal sleeping when they do), but when it affects your health and relationships, seriously consider taking a break from the Internet.
How to Address Wi-Fi or Phone Addiction
Many people have built their plans, works, and lives around the smartphone. It is a useful and ubiquitous device that helps us manage things better. But it can also be addictive.
Here are some things you can do to address that addiction:
Install a productivity app that motivates you to stay off your phone.
You can install a productivity app like Forest to motivate you to stay off your phone. Forest works by counting the time you spend not touching your phone. The more time you stay off, the more trees will grow in the app, creating a forest. With more regular time off, you get more beautiful and rarer trees.
Don't bring your phone to the dining table.
Leave it somewhere far from where you're eating, or keep it in your bag. If you're dining with friends and family, use the opportunity to talk and bond.
Turn the WI-fi off.
Turn your Wi-Fi off at a certain time at night, like 11 p.m. when you should be ideally asleep.
Turn off your phone at night.
Some phones can still wake up and sound your alarm clock even when they are turned off, so no worries there.
Consciously limit your mobile phone use.
Track your mobile phone use and limit it slowly. If you're using it 12 hours a day, perhaps next week you should lessen your use to nine hours a day, until you at least reach the global average daily use. According Pew Research Center, people spend an average time of four hours a day on the cellphone.
Limit social media use
It's fine, don't look at your Facebook account. You will survive. According to a report by Business Insider, the global average of spending time on social media is more than 50 minutes a day. In the Philippines, that figure is much higher. In a lifetime, people will spend more than five years of their lives simply browsing social media.