The new generations are born in an interconnected world; they are digital natives. It would seem like we all carry a mini-computer in our pocket. We have countless profiles on different
social networks and we spend the day publishing on them and, above all, seeing what others
A few decades ago this was not normal. The usual activities of adolescents and young people took place away from screens and mobile devices, but as you may know, new opportunities
bring new challenges. Although technology has brought immense advances, it can also be misused or even addictive.
How many times a day do you look at your mobile? Did you know that the option to refresh and not know what will appear again on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook was created by copying
the mode of slot machines?
According to data from 2017 from the Royal Society of Public Health, 91% of young people between 16 and 24 years old use social networks. Using these platforms can increase anxiety,
depression, and disrupt sleep cycles. In fact, seven out of ten young people say that their social networks have caused anxiety at some time. It would be reasonable to assume that in the last three years the use of social networks by adolescents has not decreased, but rather increased, increasing with it all the negative consequences that its use brings. It is in this scenario that the FOMO arises (Fear of Missing Out). It makes reference to the feeling of anxiety that someone experiences when they feel like they are missing out on something, as its name mentions it very clearly.
Most adolescents and young people are not the only ones affected; 56% of social media users feel FOMO. Many of them without even being aware of it. It is true that among millennials the figures are even more alarming, affecting seven out of ten people, according to a Trustpulse investigation.
FOMO doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Some people may feel envious, others jealous and others feel disappointed. The pressure to live a perfect life and above all, to show it is such that 40% of the people interviewed admit to having made at least one purchase a year with the only objective of sharing it on social networks.
So we can say that FOMO has serious consequences on how we feel to the point that it even influences how we spend our money. Many will wonder what causes it? It depends. What
generates the feeling of discomfort the most, are mainly other people’s travel posts. It would be interesting to ask whether with the current pandemic this has decreased or increased. Does it affect us more to see constantly people on vacation in paradisiacal places? Or to see fewer people doing tourism, but knowing that in this context very few can afford it.
Another source of FOMO are events, missing out concerts, festivals, parties. Several years ago,
if there was a celebration and you weren’t invited, you might feel bad. Nowadays, the discomfort increases when you’re not only feel bad about not being invited but also have to see
a lot of photos and videos about that event.
Finally, the third topic that generates the most FOMO on social networks is food posts. Seeing someone eating a salad may make you feel guilty about that burger you ate yesterday, or you
may feel disappointed that you didn’t keep your commitment to eat healthier, or someone
uploading a photo eating in a delicious restaurant that you have not been able to go and that makes you envious.
It’s a bit like the butterfly effect. We share something in the networks and we really have no idea what effect it can have on others. We can only take care of what we are consuming, what
content we see on a daily basis and how it makes us feel.
When it comes to sites, Facebook is ahead. 72% of those surveyed say that this app produces FOMO. Second place is a tie between Instagram and Twitter, with 14% each. Lastly, Pinterest is mentioned with 8%.
It would be interesting to see how the new TikTok platform is affecting its consumers, especially considering that it is consumed by an extremely young audience and therefore dangerously influenced.
The games that our minds play are strange because if we stop to think about it, we know that those chromatically perfect lives are not real. That everything it shows is staged. That behind
that selfie there were several or many attempts, that there is Photoshop, makeup, professional photographers, spotlights. But we still let it affect us.
How many people wake up and the first thing they do is grab their mobile and look at the networks? What kind of day will you have if the content you consume daily generates FOMO?
Studies say that there are differences according to age. Young people seem to generate more FOMO to miss out on events, seven of ten, say they check their social media many times per
day in fear to miss out on any event. In the last two years, the amount of time spent on social media has double. For older generations, the posts that seem to affect them the most are
related to material possessions. Watching a story on their neighbor’s new car, or the pictures of his classmates who bought a new house.
The anxiety caused by social media shouldn’t be normalized, it is not healthy for it to be part of our day to day. As a result, in 2018 JOMO happens, the joy of missing out. As its name says, it makes reference to a feeling of joy of missing out or not being part of events or stuff happening in people’s life. It represents all those people who don’t feel the need to be part of a group or be liked by others on their social media. They like to spend time with themselves, and only accept those invitations that really vibe with them and not just go to a place because it’s very
“instagrammable”. JOMO is not for everyone or it can’t be something you become or achieve in the short-term. This is why below you’ll find a list of things you can do to avoid FOMO.
5 tips to avoid FOMO:
There are different ways to do it, your only need to find the one that adapts better to you. You can decide to be 24 hours with no contact with technology. Be one day with no screens and instead practice other hobbies that you enjoy and that you haven’t done in a while. If you decide on these options, don’t forget to tell your family about it, they might get worried about why you’re not answering your phone.
Another option different from the 24-hour detox could be for other periods of time that not as extended, as well as logging out certain apps that are on your phone, and only checking up on them when being on your computers, such as FB or Instagram.
Stop following people.
Observe what type of people and accounts you’re following. Stop consuming toxic
content, that will only generate negative thoughts.
Be aware of the use of your time.
Most of the time we are not aware of the amount of time we spend hooked on an app.
It is important that you know how you’re spending your time. Some cellphones show you the amount of time you spend in each app, or you can download an application that
measures it and shows you.
Limit the time.
If you measure the time and you want to make some changes, this is the next step to
follow. Some apps, such as Instagram, have the option to set up an alarm after a certain time that you’ve established to spend per day in the app. There are also some applications
that you can download and will do this for you when using other apps different from Instagram.
Start your day differently.
Grabbing your phone and looking at social media should be the first thing you do when you wake up. Start off your day with soothing inspiring and positive, you’ll have time
later to catch up with what other people are doing.
Social media and technology are great. They have brought people closer when they live so far from each other, especially in these strange times. But it is important to remember they’re a tool, and as such we are the ones who use them, not the other way around. Time is a gift, let’s chose to spend it wisely and chose to do everything mindfully.