“You blew it!” I said. This is the most terrifying thing you can say to a teenager and has the greatest impact. There is even a term for the bad feeling some kids get when they realize they will miss out on an experience: FOMO.
Why Do People Get FOMO?
FEAR OF MISSING OUT (FOMO) is the acronym for this phrase. “FOMO,” a term that was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, refers to that uncomfortable or worried feeling that a person gets when they realize they are not attending a social function either because they weren’t invited, could not attend, or they just didn’t feel like going.
FOMO tends to make people believe they are social outcasts. Anxiety and low self-esteem might result from holding on to such a false belief. FOMO is more prevalent among people between the ages of 18 and 33. According to one study, two-thirds of adults in this age bracket say they regularly suffer from FOMO.
The Origins of Fear of Missing Out
People have long been worried about where they fit in the social hierarchy. FEAR OF MISSING OUT has always been a problem, but it’s become even more of one among today’s young adults, thanks to the proliferation of social media. Students who skip an event, such as a party or family trip, may feel less cool than their peers who did go and shared pictures online.
Researchers have found a correlation between social media use and feelings of fear of missing out (FOMO). According to psychologists, fear of losing out is a powerful motivator for social media. For example, they say that FOMO motivates people to utilize technology to show others how much fun they are having while doing something.
Nobody should be surprised, of course. Young people have a lot of power to mold their identities based on what they read and see on the internet. To put it another way, the frequent comparison of one’s life to that of others on social media causes individuals to compare their lives to that of their peers constantly.
FOMO's Negative Effects
Most teenagers would say no when asked if they suffer from social media anxiety. Many people don’t realize they’re suffering from FOMO because they’re concerned or frightened about seeing what others are doing online.
Teens and young adults are more likely to suffer from FOMO when they live via a social media filter. At least 24% of teenagers are virtually always online, so it’s no wonder that FOMO has reached epidemic proportions.
For children, it’s tougher to have fun when they’re preoccupied with what others are up to. People are more concerned about what’s going on outside themselves than they are about what’s going on inside themselves. Self-esteem and an inability to identify themselves may be the result of this process.
According to one study, the more time people spend on Facebook, the more anxious they become minute by minute. As a result, their overall well-being suffers, as they are driven to continually stay in touch with what their peers are up to. Third of the respondents reported feeling less happy on Facebook, especially when looking at someone else’s vacation pictures.
60% of Australian youths said they worried when they learned their friends were having fun without them, according to the National Stress and Wellbeing Survey. Furthermore, 51% of respondents admitted feeling nervous if they were unaware of what their pals were up to. Researchers also found a link between increased levels of stress and depression and the amount of time spent using digital technologies.
Teens may turn to drugs and alcohol in order to stay up with their friends and favorite celebrities on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. As a result, they may be more susceptible to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Distracted learning and distracted driving are two more effects of FOMO. While driving or in class, teens with a high level of FOMO were more inclined to check their social media accounts. In addition, they were more likely to text while driving than the general population.
How to Handle Fear of Missing Out
Reframing, a mental exercise that teaches kids to see things from a different perspective, can be an effective strategy for dealing with FOMO among teens. As for FOMO, it can be a powerful tool for shifting negative thinking. You can help your teen think in new ways by following these tips.
1. Observe Your Negative Thoughts.
Keeping a journal might be a helpful coping mechanism for teenagers who fear missing out (FOMO). This is one technique to keep tabs on people’s poor self-perceptions and outlooks on life.
An important part of this process is tracking how often and what you did when you had negative thoughts. You and your partner can use the journal to figure out what needs to be altered so that you both have a better outlook on your life.
2. Positivity Is Your Best Bet.
Teens who keep a journal of their negative thoughts can identify the words and phrases they use to talk negatively to themselves. Using this technique, people can learn to notice themselves when they are thinking or saying anything unpleasant to themselves and then replace those negative thoughts with something more positive.
3. Take a break from technology.
Disconnecting from technology is, of course, an obvious remedy for FOMO. However, putting your phone on “do not disturb” or “silent” does not remove the FOMO-induced anxiety. Even if teens do not use social media, they may still worry that they are missing out.
Nothing is more important than getting away from social media and doing something else. This might be anything from reading an entire book to giving your friend a makeover or baking cookies. Setting aside specified times of day to check social media is another approach. It is better for teenagers just to check social media at certain times of the day rather than swiping through continuously on Instagram.
4. Realistic is the best way to describe it.
Promote the understanding among young people that they can’t be everywhere at once, doing everything. Consequently, they will be unable to participate in certain social gatherings. However, this does not necessarily indicate that they are missing out on anything. A photograph can be misleading. Although their peers may appear to be having a great time, this may not be true.
Their self-esteem should not be tarnished by the fact that they were unable to attend a particular event. Encourage them to resist the temptation to believe that their lives are dreary and that they never have enjoyable experiences. Assist them in remembering how much pleasure they are having right now.
5. Make An Effort to Remain Calm
Mindfulness is a practice in which the individual learns to concentrate on the present moment. As simple as taking a bath or strolling along a forest path, mindfulness encourages kids to focus solely on what they’re doing at any given time.
In other words, if they’re taking a bubble bath, they could pay attention to how it feels between their toes and the aroma of the essential oils they’ve added to the water. Focused on the task, their minds cannot hold thoughts of fear or anxiety.
A decision has been reached.
Despite the abundance of gorgeous photos featuring happy people, remind your teens that most people their age only publish their best photos online. They often post images of themselves participating in activities and events that portray their idealized selves.
It’s time to stop comparing your teen’s Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter feeds to those of other people. Although their classmates appear to be having the time of their lives, they probably spend just as many evenings at home watching Netflix as they do having the time of their lives. Even though social media helps people to pretend otherwise, no one has a picture-perfect life.
Keep an eye out for the accounts your teen follows. They are more likely to feel horrible about themselves and their lives if they solely follow the accounts of people who look nothing like them or engage in activities or lifestyles that are far different from their own.