Do you have fear of missing out?

What is FOMO (fear of missing out) and do you have it?

Social media has us connected more than ever. Texas A&M University says 24 percent of youth are online almost constantly. With constant connection comes the fear that something will happen without knowing about it. This fear is known as FOMO (fear of missing out), and it’s affecting youth and adults in big ways.

FOMO was actually added as a term in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, according to “FOMO: It's your life you're missing out on” by Texas A&M University. Is FOMO something to worry about? Researchers say yes.

By being connected through social media constantly and seeing everyone else’s “best self” presented all the time, this can cause people to feel they are missing out on events that are happening and missing out on the things they want to do in their own life that others are doing.

Feelings of missing out and comparing your life to other people’s best selves can cause feelings of anxiety, depression and dissatisfaction. FOMO can cause us to be so tuned in to watching others on social media that we aren’t present in our own lives.

What you can do to help eliminate or off-set feelings of FOMO? Michigan State University Extension recommends the following.

  • Social media doesn’t tell the whole story. Remind yourself that what you see on social media isn’t the whole story and people generally don’t share the messy details or negative things on social media.
  • Limit technology use. Have no tech zones and outings so you can focus on being present in the moment or event. Yes, it’s important to take pictures, but being in the moment should be your primary concern, not taking pictures to post on social media.
  • Turn off notifications. Eliminating the sound notifications can help be intentional about when you check social media. When that ding goes off, it becomes an immediate reaction or habit to check it right away, no matter what you are doing at the time. Set times to check in on social media and limit the amount of time you are on.
  • Focus on the good. Since social media presents the best of the best in people’s lives, focus on what is good in your life instead of comparing your life to others.
  • Practice gratitude. Focusing on what you are grateful for in your life allows us to be happy for what others have in their life and reminds us of all the good things in our own life.

Social media has allowed us to connect in many ways, but can be hard to manage. Practice being present in your own life to avoid having those feelings of fear of missing out.

For more ideas about activities and articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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