By Cassidy Gourley
You look at the clock. Its 7:00 on a Friday night and you’re sitting on the couch in your sweatpants watching your fourth episode of Gossip Girl. Now is the moment of truth. Are you going to start that next episode or get ready to go out? The driving force for your decision to go out could be FoMO, or “fear of missing out,” a common feeling among college-age people.
Most people joke about having FoMO, but recent studies show it is becoming an actual psychological issue. According to Psychology Today, when someone experiences FoMO, their psychological needs are being deprived, particularly the needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. This lack of psychological needs can lead to extreme loneliness and even depression or social anxiety. FoMO is not only attributing to depression and social anxiety, but it is also creating its own new classification of anxiety, called social media anxiety. CNN describes this new form of social anxiety as a feeling of insignificance after checking social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even snapchat.
But what causes all of this social media anxiety and feeling of FoMO? It stems from our generations constant need for technological stimulation. Psychology Today discovered some very sobering statistics on just how much college students use our smartphones. Three out of four young adults check their smart phone before they get out of bed in the morning. Slightly less than half of smart phone users between the ages of 18 and 30 check their phone at least every 10 minutes, sometimes more.
People who have the Facebook App check their account at least 14 times per day. One of the most shocking statistics that I found was that half of mobile phone users have their device within an arm’s length all hours of the day, seven days a week. How could we not help but feel a little left out when we are constantly connected to everyone at all hours of the day and barely have time to breathe or just think about ourselves?
The only way to change the problem of FoMO is to change ourselves. We need to not measure our self worth in amount of likes. We need to not depend on our phones and social media as our forms of entertainment. We need to not make the goal of every night to see how cute of a picture we can take or see how many
Instagrams we can post in one weekend.
Moral of the story is, watch that next episode of Gossip Girl and stay in for a night if you want to. And if you want to go out, go out! Just, don’t go out only because you’re afraid of missing something important. If you do end up going out or staying in, maybe put your phone down for more than thirty minutes, and just enjoy the moment. And when it comes to FoMO, remember this quote: “stop comparing your behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”