FOMO Syndrome: Feeling that other people’s lives are more interesting

The feeling of losing something or FOMO syndrome (Fear of Missing Out) has been recognized by psychologists as a disorder caused by advancements in technology and the number of options presented to us today. The cause of this phenomenon is to be permanently connected to the network.

What is FOMO syndrome?

In previous articles by Psychology and the mindWe echoed the growing phenomenon of selfies and talked about the importance of education to prevent the possible harmful use that we face in order to always be connected.

The number of individuals who they feel that their life is much less interesting than that of their acquaintances is growing. Wanting to be accepted by others has always existed, and this makes sense because it refers to social identity. No one likes to feel left out. We generally work in society wanting to be recognized by the different groups we are a part of: our family, our childhood friends, our college friends, our colleagues, among others.

Social networks and FOMO

Social media exposes the variety of activities one could be doing at any given time and provides a plethora of opportunities for social interaction. The problem is that many times there are more options than we can cover and this can lead to the perception that others have better experiences than we do. In these cases, the contact with reality is lost and it is the imagination that plays a decisive role in the interpretation of what we see by these means.

Being connected 24 hours a day via our smartphones, this feeling can be felt not only at different times of the day, but with the different groups to which we belong. This can lead us to always be aware of this showcase in order to stand out among our contacts and show the great social life that we have.

FOMO Syndrome Research

Recently, Mylife.com published an interesting study by Dr. Andy Przybylski in which he investigated over 2000 adults in the United States on their ability to log out of their smartphones.

The study concluded that FOMO syndrome it has a higher intensity in young people and in young men in particular, And high levels of this syndrome correlate positively with social circumstances such as a low level of social satisfaction, which causes feelings of inferiority. Research suggests that FOMO can lead to mental health issues because it can cause depression or anxiety. Other previous studies find that people who place more value on social media as part of their social development tend to experience FOMO more.

On social media we try to show how we want to be and not how we really are, To be able to come to perceive that the life of others is without problems and is much more interesting and exciting than ours. Social identity, especially among young people living immersed in new technologies, is largely created through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It is clear that this new way of life is alarmingly “shaping” the lives of adolescents, for better or for worse.

In context: the FOMO syndrome and the technological society

Experts warn us that this syndrome is the consequence of a type of cognitive distortion which leads to irrational thoughts. For people prone to this kind of thinking, social media can be harmful. However, they recommend that logging out of social media completely does not solve the problem as it is only a form of avoidance. Cognitive behavioral therapy or other forms of psychotherapy can help correct negative thoughts.

As we have seen in other articles, education is fundamental to prevent this type of pathology associated with the use of new technologies and should be done from an early age to provide minors with useful tools to maintain high self-esteem, despite outside influences.

  • More on this point: “Depersonalization and (in) communication on social networks”

Social networks are attractive because they are a space where adolescents are the protagonists and are an ideal place to interact with other groups of people who use their own language and share their tastes and interests. But as agents of socialization who are, they also convey values. It is up to adults to ensure that these young people understand the positive and negative consequences of their use.

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