FoMO-The Fear of Missing Out

The concept of FoMO (The Fear of Missing out) is a relatively new one characterised by a need to be constantly connected with what others are doing in order to not miss out.

Young people especially are rarely seen without their mobile phones. We are in the age of instant communication; digital media is very much part of daily life. Have you noticed that when visitors arrive at our homes, one of the first questions we are asked is ‘What is your wi-fi code?’ We have become so used to being in touch constantly that we find it difficult to be out of circulation for even a short time.

While the internet has brought us lots of benefits and made the world seem much smaller it has also brought many challenges into modern family life. Ten years ago 35% of people had access to the internet. Fast forward to 2017 and that figure now stands at nearer to 82%. The average person is spending 2.51 hours a day on the internet; at least half of that time on social media; apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram.

If we take Instagram alone, it has 400 million daily users. It is responsible for 3.5 billion ‘likes’ and 80 million pictures shared daily. More recently Instagram released ‘Instagram stories’ .This feature allows the user to share moments of one’s day using photos and videos. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slide show format: your story. This feature attracts 100 million active viewers.

And yet….an article recently in The Times (May 20, 2017) deemed Instagram as the worst social media platform in terms of its impact on the mental health of young people. This image obsessed app. is leading to feelings of increased levels of anxiety and inadequacy as young people observe snapshots of ‘perfect lives’ (which often have been heavily photo shopped or taken countless times to create the desired effect). It is also linked to the rise in depression and sleep issues.

Young people need to be reminded of the dangers attached to social media and it is necessary, more than any time before perhaps, that we help them to recognise their value and develop good esteem.

This is very much at the heart of all we do in Chester Schools, whether that be through the ‘It’s your Move’ programme which helps to prepare children for the transition from primary to secondary school, through RSE lessons which are set in the context of loving oneself and setting high standards ‘because you’re worth it’, to ‘Hallmarked’ which is a short course aimed at improving emotional wellbeing and improving resilience. As an organisation we are passionate about providing young people with the tools they need to lead happy and fulfilled lives and are thankful for the many and varied opportunities we have to do that across Chester.