Don’t depend on anxiety-causing social media for life experience

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By Brooke Criswell
Online Content Manager

Are you familiar with the feeling of your phone vibrating or going off in your head, but not in reality? You may be experiencing a new anxiety known as FOMO or the fear of missing out.

The fear has arisen from social media use. While millennials are the more common of the age group to suffer from this, anyone could feel they don’t have enough or continue to have a desire for “more better” things.

These feelings surface from comparisons to other people’s lives. We see our friends or maybe just people we admire on Instagram and Twitter. They show photos of the “better” party or tweet about their new items and automatically, you feel the need to live up to it or you’re missing out.

photo courtesy of envisgaeinernational.com
photo courtesy of envisgaeinernational.com

A recent survey from Eventbrite found that 78 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds would rather pay for experiences versus actual things. The FOMO is a factor with 70 percent acknowledging it has an influence on their decision.

But,  what happens when you pay for that experience and you’re living through those moments by watching it happen in a screen? Life is happening outside that rectangular device held in one’s hand.

“We need to recognize that this is just a device. We do not need it to live, we want it,” Adam Tyma, associate professor and graduate program chair said.

The FOMO could also be linked to why 25 percent of millennials never want to get married. Time Magazine suggests that it can be a symptom of a fear of intimacy and relationships. There is always a fear of there’s something more or someone better out there.

Tyma said the real problem is we have come to expect that everything should be instantly available. In the classroom, he plays a game where students put their phone in the middle of the table. He is shocked when students begin to “freak out” because a facebook notification is going off and they can’t read it right away.

There is evidence that shows getting “likes” on a photo or getting retweeted releases positive chemical reactions in the brain. However, that cannot take the place of the definition of addiction.

“I should not have to remind people to put their phones away,” Tyma said. “I need you present and when you’re on the phone you’re in two different spaces that no amount of multitasking can allow you in both.”

The accessibility of the world within the touch of a button is suggested to be a cause of this major change in the past five years. It is too early to say if there has been a mas- sive destruction of society due to FOMO.

Social media and all of the advantages that smartphones bring to our lives should not supplement living outside of the screen. Rather, it should compliment and enhance and simplify our lives. Tyma said when we need the resources, they are there but we should not become dependent on them.

All in all, we should stay in our own lane and be grateful for the life we live and not compare it to everyone else’s online.

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