Are you suffering from FOMO?
Fear of Missing Out(FOMO), a new disorder characterised by an uncontrollable urge to stay connected with family and friends via social media has taken many teenagers and young adults hostage. “FOMO is caused due to lack of attention. Patients suffering from this disorder are under constant anxiety to share every detail of their personal life and to show the world what a wonderful time they’re having
Fear of Missing Out(FOMO), a new disorder characterised by an uncontrollable urge to stay connected with family and friends via social media has taken many teenagers and young adults hostage. “FOMO is caused due to lack of attention. Patients suffering from this disorder are under constant anxiety to share every detail of their personal life and to show the world what a wonderful time they’re having”, says Arpitha Sharma, a psychology practitioner.
Psychiatrists and psychologists rue that most of the ones prone to FOMO are youngsters below 25 years of age. Additionally, they also claim that FOMO creates in people a strange fear of isolation from the world, which makes them take extra measures to be a part of it via social media. FOMO develops a tendency where the individual prefer to stay connected with people in the virtual world and neglect the present world.
Though online profiles have become an integral part of day to day lives, most users are not aware of the adverse affects social media has on their psychology and behaviour. Psychiatrists opine that if an individual is fervently attached to social media, he/she will be subject to grave psychological disorders in course of time.
“Social media is an interesting platform and is also useful in certain ways. But it also subjects its users to long lasting and new disorders constantly being observed and researched by scientists”, says Sreenivas, clinical psychiatrist in KIMS hospital. People suffering from FOMO drop into an abyss of severe depression in case they fail to address their “online” anxiety. Individuals with insecurity or low self esteem or ones who are less popular tend to measure their worth online and gradually develop a grave fear of being disapproved. A person insecure about his/her image tries hard to be liked more and more on a social platform, explains Arpitha.
“The most dangerous aspect of the social media is the sense of comparison it brings about its users. Individuals start comparing each other and strive to collect maximum likes and comments from others. If they get what they want, their confidence is boosted. But if they don’t, they instantly slip into depression which later causes serious behavioural disorders”, Sreenivas adds. “FOMO not only destroys the actual social life, but also academic performances of students.
They may develop introversion and avoid socialising with others. They may also be subject to 'social anhedonia', the inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities”, says Kalpana Sringar, another clinical psychiatrist. “Not only children, but also young adults are found suffering from FOMO. They regularly open micro blogging sites to check what’s happening and how many likes have they have accumulated. This time can be spent on an actual real-life relationship. Instead, users give priority to social media”, Kalpana adds.
“However, the good news is that FOMO is not a permanent disorder and it can be controlled. Individuals experiencing it have to curb their urges and cut down on the time they spend on social media and engage in other activities instead”, Arpitha suggests. Sreenivas says, “A child’s brain is like a fluid and it depends on how the parents mould it. Hence it is the responsibility of the parents to keep an eye on their kids and teach them to engage themselves in activities that aid their intellectual growth rather than ones that are social media centric”.
Most children gradually drift away from the urge and become less aware of their disorders when they engage themselves in other activities or inculcate hobbies that will help them get rid of FOMO, he adds. There are many apps available in the market that can help parents keep a tab on their children’s online activities and the time spent on social media in particular. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used both destructively and sparingly. Its usage has to be titrated so the user or child gets the maximum benefit from it without developing an addiction.