Perhaps you are parent of a college-going teenager who has multiple social media accounts with lots of real and imaginary friends added. Perhaps you are using Facebook on your office PC, or perhaps you are glued to your smartphone screen to see where your friends are hanging out next and how sexy your friend is looking on an exotic beach while wearing a bikini and posting her pictures publicly on Instagram. It is the urge to look good in our social circles, either when we are actually meeting our friends or using social media, that contributes significantly towards the development of this social media addiction. Out of this sheer addiction we often over-commit ourselves and not only spend excessive money on things, but find they may not enrich our lives.
We all experience such life situations every day as we are living in the world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For us, maintaining a favorable image online is frequently more important than finding time for our own selves and loved ones. We remain hooked up on our laptops and smartphones just to make sure we don’t miss out anything. And if your kids are engaged in any such behavior, you can be sure that they are suffering from what is called Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO…
FOMO is the fear of missing out on something great and losing social standing, combined with an overwhelming urge to know what is happening around oneself. It is a psychological disorder based upon feelings of insecurity and making poor or incorrect choices.
Parents play a role
The most important reasons children and adults (especially males in the age bracket of 16-35 years) are caught in the trap of FOMO are neglect and low self-esteem. Recent research studies clearly demonstrated that an unmet need for recognition, low self-esteem, and social exclusion are the key reasons for FOMO. As a parent, you play a part in shaping and controlling this fear and addiction, as it pushes you or your teenage children to excessively use social media for instant gratification and drives the will to get accepted and acknowledged.
Ways to deal with this
As a parent or as an individual (if you are suffering from FOMO yourself) you can find a way out of this fear. Just try to do few of the following:
- Always keep a limited amount of money and no cards in your wallet. You can then have an excuse for not going out with your friends on recurring social events.
- Find mobile phone packages with limited or no data plans.
- Remove Wi-Fi instruments from your home and use network cable instead for connecting to the internet.
- If your employer grants internet access during work, specifically ask them to block or filter your internet connection on your work PC.
- Learn to budget properly and do not budget for events where you have to spend money frequently.
- Close down social media notifications on your cell phone and other mobile devices.
- Learn to develop real contact with your friends rather than only hanging out online.
- Learn to enjoy what you are doing now, and in your free time visit your parents rather than hang out with friends.
- Look for the positive in every moment and stop making comparisons. Your friend may be having a nice extravagant vacation, but that doesn’t mean she is happy.
- Rate your FOMO at http://www.ratemyfomo.com/
- Use the power shout technique when you feel the urge to use social media. Just close your eyes, mentally imagine that you are using your Facebook, and while mentally doing that shout, “ STOP!” Your urge to use social media will decrease…try it!
- Stop living a false identity. It will sap your time, make you less productive and can cost you your job.
- Learn to accept yourself as you are. True friends always remain true friends regardless of whether you meet them or not.
- Reduce the number of friends on your social media accounts.
- Don’t drive for miles just to check-in on foursquare or to avail ourselves of a deal on Groupon.
I believe it is very important that we learn to manage different priorities in our lives and realistically assess whether we want to just look good, or really become good with no need to live with false identities.