This topic is adapted from the FLEXTALK YouTube channel.
The “fear of missing out” (“FOMO”) is one of the biggest reasons we spend so much time on social media. If your friend posts a photo and you don’t see it, you feel left out. You see that all of your other friends commented or liked it and you feel like you missed out on that opportunity.
FOMO is becoming a bigger and bigger problem these days, and especially for teens.
- Social media can create a false reality. You are never going to post something that you don’t look good in. You are always going to make yourself seem the best you can on social media, and so is everyone around you. You are going to see other people’s posts and think they must have a care-free life. But this isn’t reality.
- Social media shouldn’t be a priority in your life. You shouldn’t wake up every morning just so that you can get on social media. If you are basing your life in the false reality of social media, you will set false expectations for yourself. These expectations will never be met and it will just set you on a cycle of disappointment.
- An easy way to keep yourself off of social media is keep yourself busy. Spend time doing things in the real world so you that you don’t have hours to burn on social media.
- Set boundaries with social media. Only allow yourself a specific amount of time a day to spend on social media. Be accountable to yourself.
- An easy way to begin cutting back on social media is by taking the thirty-minute challenge. Each week decrease the amount of time you spend on social media by thirty minutes. Do this until you reach a healthy amount of time spent on social media.
Social media isn’t an inherently bad thing, but when you let it become a priority in your life, problems will arise. You will begin to live in the false reality it creates. In order to stay away from that you need to set boundaries with social media and spend your time doing more important things.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Do you have a “fear of missing out?” If so, how bad do you have it on a scale of 1-10? Why do you rate yourself this way?
- Why do you think people have FOMO? Do you think people feared missing out in the days before the internet and smartphones? Explain.
- On average, how much time per week do you think you spend on social media? What apps and sites take up the most of your time? Why?
- Would you say that social media is a “priority” in your life? Why or why not?
- What are some practical ways to start cutting down on unhealthy time spent on social media?
- What is an unhealthy way to view social media? What is a healthy way to view it?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.