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Delving into FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

WRBL Staff - (KIMT) – Social media has made it possible for millions around the world to feel connected, but the same method of communication is also making others feel left out.

It's an unfamiliar term being coined for a very familiar feeling, FOMO or the ‘Fear of Missing Out' is something we can all relate to.

The feeling that someone else's life looks so much more appealing than what we're doing now. You do what you can to block it out, but for some, it's not an option.

Especially as many rely on communication through social media to stay connected.

"Social media has created this need to see what's going on with everybody and FOMO is the worry that you're not in the loop," said Ryan Parker of Charles City High School.

More than 57 percent of teens today log between four to eight plus hours of screen time according to the PEW Research Center. Lets think for a second, that's more time than some people spend asleep every night.

Of the 93 percent of teens online, more young people than ever are posting, commenting and liking the interactions they have with people just like them.

"There's always a fear of either being less than someone else, or that we're missing out on something better than what we have," said Shari Hagen of Crystal Lake.

At the root of FOMO is fear and fear does not discriminate. So no worries adults, you're not left out either. Meet Shari Hagen, a mother of one and avid social media user.

After her son Levi was born, Hagen says she turned to other parents on social media.

"I felt like it was a new thing to me especially new parents that aren't comfortable with themselves or their parenting styles are looking for answers," said Hagen.

The constant comparisons can be hard to manage and if that's the case, you may seek someone like Kathryn Kennedy.

Kennedy is a Mental Health Counselor here at Kennedy Counseling and while she may not consider herself an expert in FOMO, if there ever was a thing, she's probably as close as you're gonna get.

"I grew up with it. So I don't feel very far removed from it and I do feel that I'm able to connect with my clients better because of it," said Kennedy.

Kennedy says while the emotional implications are there, symptoms of social media anxiety include trouble sleeping, shortness of breath and even heart complications.

"People are liking their photos and sometimes the more far out the photos are, the more the likes. So you really have to make sure that they're getting that validation in positive reinforcement at home and not just on social media," said Kennedy.

Kennedy says therapy is recommended once you begin to notice the anxiety affecting things like school and work.

Of course it's not the easiest conversation to have, but keep in mind the value of having your loved one find peace of mind.

Kennedy says therapy is recommended once you begin to notice the anxiety affecting things like school and work.

Of course, it's not the easiest conversation to have, but keep in mind the value of having your loved one find peace of mind.


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