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FOMO: Why do people have fear of missing out?

FOMO is the feeling of anxiousness that something exciting is happening elsewhere / Photo by Igorstevanovic via Shutterstock

 

In this today’s generation, being online and being updated is one of the most relevant things that teenagers and most people want to achieve. The internet has been very useful in gathering new information as well as, providing its user the most useful news that they might need. However, too much reliance on the internet and social media could also trigger technology addiction that adults from earlier generation fear might happen.

The fear of missing out has become pervasive in society. Teens and adults text while driving, because the possibility of a social connection is more important than their own lives. Sometimes, it is noticeable that most people are always on their phone rather than making an actual conversation with the people around them. It is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction.

The desire to stay connected with the virtual world poses a greater risk than anyone could imagine. It might be harmless at first but when things go out of hand, it could affect the person who is already addicted to it and to the people around them by causing interruptions and even accidents.

 

Wifi Disconnection

People say that in order to determine someone’s personality, put them in a room with poor wifi connection and they might show their true colors. Science Daily recently reported on their website that a group of researchers conducted a study to prove that anger and anxiety will be visible once people started to get frustrated when they missed out of their online interactions.

The research was led by psychologists Dr. Lee Hadlington and Dr. Mark Scase, both from De Montfort University in the United Kingdom. They noticed during the study that people who displayed extreme and aggressive reactions due to the poor digital connection are those people who display unstable and outgoing personalities.

The fear of missing out affects all of us. It is characterized as feeling anxious that something exciting or interesting is happening elsewhere. Social media can often perpetuate this anxiety when they see posts and pictures about their friends’ life that looks very wonderful and happy. It makes the person believe that their life is somehow worthless and this could affect their mental health in the long run.

Internet Addiction

Due to the growing concern of many psychologists and the government about the widespread internet addiction, that might happen to a lot of teenagers. Bustle reported that the authorities from New York City suggested a bill that prohibits employers to contact their employees about work-related matters after their working hours.

This bill is supposed to help minimize the anxiety and fear of being offline because people are afraid that they might miss out important notifications and messages. Although most people believe that being always online virtually could be a sign of being work dedicated, psychologists argued that having fear of being offline could actually make someone less productive.

Signs and symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder may present themselves in both physical and emotional manifestations. A person with Internet Addiction Disorder might display depression, feelings of euphoria while using the computer, agitation, and feelings of guilt. However, being addicted to the internet and technology could also affect the physical health of the person by causing backache, carpal tunnel syndrome, and dry eyes and other vision problems.

 

The fear of being offline could make someone less productive / Photo by Getty Images

 

Treating Online Addiction

The lack of inclusion of this problem in the diagnostic and statistical manual means that there is no formal diagnosis of internet addiction that exists. Likewise, a 2009 study in the European Journal of Radiology suggested that the structural changes in the brains of Internet addicts are similar to those suffering from chemical addiction.

The National Institutes of Health reports that there is now a general consensus that completely abstaining from Internet users should not be the ultimate goal of treatment. Instead, psychologists prefer that the person who is diagnosed with internet addiction to abstain from applications that cause behavior problems and disrupts the daily routine of the patient.

Current interventions and strategies used as treatments for Internet addiction stem from those practiced in substance abuse disorder. In the absence of “methodologically adequate research”, treatment programs are not well corroborated. Psychosocial treatment is the approach which is most often applied. In practice, rehab centers usually devise a combination of multiple therapies.

Furthermore, Paradigm Malibu shared on their website that parents could also take charge of helping their teenagers to prevent having an internet addiction. Setting a reasonable time using the internet could be a huge help in maintaining their adequate internet usage. Having curfews to use their phones and laptops will also help the teenager to have enough sleeping hours which could be very beneficial for their growth and development.

Also, being personally connected with each other will help them when they are struggling to keep their hands away from their phones. Making time together will help them in managing their time away from digital technologies and it will also keep their frustrations and they will be distracted from the anxiety of being offline.

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