How FOMO impacts teens and young adults

What is FOMO?

In simple terms, FOMO stands for ‘fear of missing out'. FOMO, which was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, refers to that nervous or anxious feeling a person gets when they realise they are not attending a social event either because they were not invited, couldn't attend, or they just did not feel like going.

Why people experience FOMO

Historically, people have always been concerned about where they stand socially. But with the advent of social media, FOMO has become an even bigger issue, especially for young people who seem to always be online, checking status updates and posts by their friends. Watching, critiquing and liking every move someone else makes online is what leads them to constantly measure their own lives against these posts.

Consequences of FOMO

Excessive worrying about what everyone else is doing only causes teens to miss out on their own lives even more. In fact, FOMO causes people to keep their attention focused outward instead of inward. This, in turn, may cause them to lose their sense of identity and to struggle with low self-esteem.

Tips on coping with FOMO


Track negative thoughts


Choose positive thoughts


Schedule technology breaks


Be realistic


Practise mindfulness

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