F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out)
We are becoming more and more aware of the issues and dangers with the use of social media in our younger generations. It’s no longer an issue of direct online bullying that causes concern, there are more passive issues that haunt the online social networks that can cause emotional and social damage with your child. But since many of us have grown up with access to social media and social networks have become a norm, these things no longer just affect teens and young adults, but everyone online.
One of the issues that many young people face on their online networks is an increased amount of F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out). This passive and often unintentional online issue doesn’t even have to stem from those your child knows, but also from sources outside their circle of friends. The issue of FOMO even branches to the adult audiences of social media. It is the need to do more, go to more places, or always stay connected because we can’t imagine missing out on anything. The best way to keep this issue in check is to have time set aside to stay unplugged. Whether it’s evenings for family time or a weekend to stay connected with the life you’re living, embracing the real life you have in front of you can help keep the fear of missing out from the online world in check.
Decades ago there was the pressure to “Keep up with the Joneses” – but in this era we have the Kardashians to keep up with. We live in a culture where “reality” TV has turned in to “reality” social media. Many people are latching on to celebrities in a new way – it’s easy to believe that every photo, tweet, and post is real time of their lives - as though we each have an online portal into their real world. In teens and young adults this can damage self-esteem and self-worth. Younger generations don’t have the experiences to decipher vacations, clothes, and body image into perspective. With age and experience we learn that what others let us see is often not what is real. But it’s just as easy for adults to begin comparing their own lives to those more successful than their own. It is normal believe that the success of others, their marriages, their lives are superior to ours because we see only a sliver of what is real – but it’s important to keep these views in check. If you’re using your friend’s weight loss to motivate yourself to live a heathier life, that’s one thing. But if you find yourself putting celebrity endorsed beauty items on credit cards in hopes that you’ll have their flawless skin and toned abs, it’s important to check in to what is real. Remember to live the best life you can for you, but not to keep up with anyone else.
The problem with believing that we have to keep up with others is that we fall in to the trap of filtering out the real from our own lives. The pressure this begins to put on everything we do, but also on our friendships and relationships is unhealthy. No one wants to hear about every bad thing that’s happened, but it’s not fair to the life you’re living to paint a different picture for people. When you are constantly photoshopping yourself to be taller, smaller, flawless you will find it more difficult to love the reflection you see in the mirror. When you brag about your angelic children so much that you begin to feel resentful towards the normal issues that happen in parenting you can’t realize that kids are just kids. And the same goes to how you portray your relationships online. Sure you should live by the golden rule if you have nothing nice to say you should say nothing at all – but that doesn’t mean that you fake a perfect marriage to the point that you become depressed about the relationship you’re in but can’t confide in anyone because you’ve led everyone to believe things are different than they really are.
These passive and unintentional issues become real issues caused by how people use social media. They can cause a break down in living the life you are meant to have. If you find that online issues are taking away from the real life it might be time to step away, unplug, and think about what it is to have the life you want and what you can change to have it.