Teens Should Not Allow “FOMO” to Consume Them

Katie Gillis, Editor-in-Chief

Imagine: it is a Friday night, you just had a long week, and you are curled up in bed, enjoying a good book or television show. However, when you check your phone and see people out having fun, this relaxing evening in suddenly does not seem so fulfilling anymore. This phenomenon is more commonly know as “fear of missing out” or “FOMO.” 

In the last few years, comparing yourself with others has never been so easy. While social media does allow people to keep in touch with others and experience things that they may not have had the opportunity for, a problem begins when people begin to change their own actions according to what they see online. Despite one’s own personal enjoyment in a simple activity such as reading a book or relaxing at home, seeing others online going out and being active may leave them feeling inadequate. In this social media-driven society, it has become much harder to find fulfillment in doing nothing. 

“I find myself doing a lot of things because of the influence of social media, and sometimes I have to take a step back and question whether I actually wanted to do it, or just did it because it was what everyone else was doing,” one Walpole High senior said. 

The major issue with “FOMO” is that it takes its biggest toll on one’s leisure time because people have become so fixated on what else they could possibly be doing. Social media has blurred the lines between social, work and personal lives to the point where many find it hard sitting idle without finding something else to do or checking social media. For example, many teens go out and spend the evening with friends, yet spend the majority of the time on their phone. It has become nearly impossible to enjoy the present moment without thinking about the next step. 

With social media, it has become easy to think about all the other things that you could possibly be doing, but you must remember that you can only actually experience one at a time, so it is important to actually enjoy it. Scrolling on social media might be entertaining, but it is no stand-in for an actual experience. Next time you encounter “FOMO” try to remember what you want, not what you think you want, or what everyone else is doing. In the long run, doing something enjoyable for yourself will be much more fulfilling than following a group decision.