FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Parent App Guide

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FOMO is when a student (or adult) experiences anxiety that an exciting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often prompted by posts seen on social media

  • FOMO stands for: Fear of Missing Out
  • Akin to “digital peer pressure,” FOMO is an emotion that app developers exploit
  • FOMO is particularly influential for teens who receive the bulk of their validation and self worth from the approval of others
  • Many of the Green & Grey Zone apps have an element of FOMO
  • Red Zone apps typically don’t have FOMO since often they are anonymous and not tied to a student’s real identity

FOMO in the news

FOMO leads to depression and anxiety in teen social media users. –Tech Times

  • “It can be easy to dismiss FOMO and other social media stress as superficial, but for many tweens and teens, social media is social life.”Common Sense Media
  • “FOMO is making teens terrible drivers. The pressure to be ‘always on’ is leading young people to take their eyes off the road.”Time
  • “Studies have shown that [FOMO] causes anxiety and depression, and that it can resemble addiction.”The Huffington Post
  • “#FOMO leads to depression and anxiety in teen social media users” –Tech Times
  • “FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing, and it’s adversely affecting teenagers on social media.”Digital Trends
  • “[FOMO] has had particularly devastating effects on college students.”The Daily Californian

Why should parents care about FOMO?

Teens feel a constant pressure to be online and accessible

  • FOMO can cause anxiety and/or depression in teens
  • Teens are using their smartphones while driving because they don’t want to miss anything that could be happening online
  • Teens feel a constant pressure to be online and accessible
  • FOMO is causing teens to stay up late, staring at their phone screens, which results in poor sleep quality

What can parents do?

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) Parent App Guide

Although the acronym FOMO is relatively new, many teens are using the term which stands for fear of missing out

  • Encourage your students to limit their digital screen time to short periods of 10 minutes or less
  • Talk to your students about FOMO and that it is normal to feel this way
  • Set limitations for how and when your teen goes online and uses social media
  • Motivate your teen to focus on the positive aspects of social media
    E.g. Inspire your teen to use social media to share positive updates and images on their extracurricular activities/volunteer work
  • Teach your teen to never drive and use their smartphone
  • Encourage your teen to spend their offline time doing activities they would be proud to share online
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