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Digital Mindfulness

FOMO is Real.

The Internet is a paradox. It creates connections between people, but it also drives them apart through FOMO, or the fear of missing out, which induces loneliness and anxiety. The article attempts to explain FOMO, while the module describes actions that can be taken to prevent this feeling.

FOMO or the “fear of missing out” is when people feel excluded from something that their peers are experiencing. This issue is prevalent among teens, especially among social media users.

FOMO comes from the fact that humans are social creatures, who have an innate desire for connection and belonging, thus, allowing them to fall into the trap of anxiety when they aren’t included in social experiences. Consequently, they end up in a stressful cycle that may be extremely difficult to break out of.

Today’s teenagers live in an increasingly digitized society where they are able to see details of other peoples’ lives and compare themselves against their peers. Many times, this can lead to anxiety due to not being included and not belonging, and this feeling can be unconscious, which makes it easy for teenagers to overlook.

Did You Know?

According to a 2019 study conducted by Baylor University, 75% of young adults struggle with FOMO (that’s a lot of people!)

However, the implications of the study also showed that FOMO was a significant predictor of personal well-being and that it encourages the use of social media to stay connected.


This can be seen as positive or negative.

Social media is commonly seen as a place for teenagers to share posts about their lives and their beliefs. It may be difficult seeing someone be having more fun or “living their best life,” while you think you aren’t. Because of this, you might feel like you’re missing out. You might also feel that people will think you’re lame or boring, or conversely, you may feel envious that you aren’t having as much fun as those around you. 

A lot of these emotions are induced by use of the internet. Although the internet may have its perks through its ability to connect people, it certainly has its downsides. This is a paradox. You use the internet to interact with those around you, try to get to know them better (directly or indirectly, discreetly or indiscreetly). However, while you’re doing this, you end up feeling like you’re missing out on life. 

Why can’t I go to Hawaii?

You ask yourself, as you scathingly stare at your phone screen, which holds a post of one of your classmates posing on some beautiful Hawaiian beach. A couple seconds pass as you’re scrolling, and all of a sudden you want to go to New York with your friends, just like the people in the next post. It’s a never ending cycle, and it’s not just you. It’s everyone.

Just think: the kid that went to Hawaii might be jealous that you got to go on a Miami cruise! 

FOMO happens to a lot of people, yet most teenagers don’t realize it. However, they agree that it can be a terrible feeling. Remember that while the internet can be a great thing, it is always good to understand its negative impacts

Tips for FOMO

Here are some friendly tips and reminders when that FOMO starts creeping in.

Take a Break

It can be difficult to realize that you may need to take a break and put your phone down. But sometimes, heading back into reality may be necessary. Remind yourself that not everything is like how it is on social media.


Your life is unique and special, even if it doesn’t seem that way all the time. Understand that each person in your life, you included, will lead different lives. It’s okay to have a mutual respect for that, and it’s certainly okay to feel a little bit jealous, but don’t let it get in your head.

Focus on yourself

Again, you lead your own life. You’re the master of your own destiny, captain of your ship. Focus on what you love to do and what you want to achieve. This can will take the focus off of other people, and instead, place it on yourself.

Author: Katie, 16
NoFiltr Youth Innovation Council Member, Digital Resource Expert

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