Researchers from the University of Essex have devised a way of actually measuring FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), a psychological phenomenon in which fear of missing out on something (or somebody) more interesting, exciting or better than what you’re doing becomes all-consuming.
Do you suspect you might suffer from FOMO? The researchers created an online test so you can find out.
Lead researcher and psychologist Dr. Andy Przybylski explained in a statement,
“I find Facebook rewarding to use, but how we are using social media is changing. It is no longer something we have to sit at a computer and log into as we have access all the time on our phones. It is easier to get into the rhythm of other people’s lives than ever before as we get alerts and texts. We have to learn new skills to control our usage and enjoy social media in moderation. Until we do, it creates a double-edged sword aspect to social media.”
Feeling inadequate in comparison to others is not new, nor is the fear of missing out on social or career opportunities when faced with others’. But the rise in social media offers an all-new window into other people’s lives that impacts how we see ourselves, and them.
Something as simple as seeing live tweets from an event you’re unable to attend, or a Pinterest board full of projects you’d never be able to or have time to do, can make you feel uneasy.
The research out of Essex found that people under 30 were more affected by FOMO than others, and that those with a high level of it were more likely to give into the temptation of composing and checking text messages and e-mails while driving, more likely to get distracted by social media during university lectures, and had more mixed feelings about their social media use in general.
Do you think you suffer from FOMO? Take the FOMO test at www.ratemyfomo.com.
(Internet addiction image via Shutterstock.)