FOMO is the fear of missing out and this can happen to anyone. However, when it comes to our kids and social media, there is a need to help them beat the negative side of FOMO. The negative sides of being online can have dire effects on a child’s mental health.
Since the advent of social media, you find that people spend a lot of time looking at their phones. Most times, we are either on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or some blog or the other. Everyone is trying to catch up with the happenings around us or chatting with friends. Often times, we hear the latest gist or news on social media so we try very hard to always be online, so as not to miss out on anything.
It’s common to find that a lot of people, especially young people, can’t go a whole day without checking their various social media accounts. And if they find out that they have missed out on something, it usually shows in their demeanour.
What is FOMO
FOMO is an abbreviation that means Fear Of Missing Out. According to the Oxford dictionary, FOMO is an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.
FOMO is an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media. Click To Tweet
What Causes a person to experience FOMO?
FOMO can be brought on by feeling cut off from social media or communication with friends. It can also be as a result of worrying that other people are doing more interesting things than you, have more friends than you, and are just appearing to be living a better and cooler life.
Symptoms of FOMO
There are certain symptoms children display when experiencing FOMO. Some of these include:
- Irritability, frustration, anxiety, argumentative, crying, eye-rolling and anger.
The symptoms often seen in adults are:
Not being present in the moment, multitasking and generally unpleasant demeanour.
FOMO affects about 90% of kids today. If you take your child’s phone away as a consequence or a form of punishment, he/she feels like you are taking away his/her community.
The child feels cut off from friends and a regular source of information. If your child feels as though his/her life isn’t as interesting or as fun as that of his/her peers, that child will be susceptible to FOMO. The feeling of being left out very often causes the child to display one, two, or all of the symptoms of FOMO stated above.
There are a number of negative feelings that come with FOMO. Your kids will feel that they are “missing out on something great” and they will have this “overwhelming urge to know what is happening around” them. This constant need to know can leave your kids worn out and unable to focus on the present moment.
How to beat FOMO
Take this feeling seriously
You have to understand that this is a real issue. Don’t dismiss your kids’ social media anxiety as a silly issue. Remember that for them, social media is a form of real-life because that is where their social circle is. Make time to listen to them to find out where their insecurities lie. (Read FOMO and How Social Media Affects us)
Strengthen their sense of self
The most important reasons children and adults are caught in the web of FOMO are the feeling of neglect and low self-esteem. Nurturing confidence in your kids and giving them the right support for high self-esteem; is the best way to protect your child from social media anxiety.
When your kids are confident, they won’t feel the need to participate or join in every social activity, simply to sustain their social standing.When your kids are confident, they won’t feel the need to participate or join in every social activity, simply to sustain their social standing. Click To Tweet
Help them build their offline lives
FOMO will get to anyone if the person has nothing going on in real life. Give your kids a reason to be excited about their real-life; this will give them an excuse to switch off from the online world. Help your kids find an activity that they love; such as singing, sports, games, an amazing internship opportunity, or other activities that will enable them to socialize in real life.
FOMO takes over when a child is idle and has nothing to do. For example, during the summer holidays, keep your child busy by enrolling him/her in a summer camp.
Turn the phone into an instrument of learning
Even if you have set strict parental controls on your kids’ phones, at some point in the day they will have access to social media and indulge in their FOMO. Rather than referring to the smartphone as the source of all evil; teach your kids that this gadget can be an instrument of learning and a source of creativity.
You can have your kids learn how to take beautiful images and open an Instagram account to display their work. Yes, they will still be using social media but they would be using it for something creative.
Teach them that social media only shows the good
When it comes to social media, you have to constantly remind your kids’ that people only display the good and fun parts of their lives. Let them know that people do this to keep up an image they believe they must project, but it is not necessarily true.
It’s important that they know that no one’s life is perfect, so they shouldn’t feel bad about themselves.
Even confident kids can get lost in the spiral that is social media. Therefore parents should help their kids by setting limits on phone usage. Use a parental control app to schedule social media times. Additionally, you can simply determine a time when phones should be put away. This will enable your children to focus on more productive activities.