narcissistic woman
How Does Social Media Create FOMO for Tweens & Teens?

“Did you see Sally’s post? I wasn’t even invited to that. I’m a loser.”

“Shane made the varsity football team!? He seems to have a new crew – I guess I don’tUpset teenage girl with FOMO belong.”

“I don’t even want to celebrate my birthday this year, no one will bring me balloons or make a big deal out of it like they did for Sammy.”

If you’ve got a tween or teen, chances are you’ve heard some version of these statements. As trivial as they may seem to older & wiser ears, these situations can be life-shattering to young, developing minds.

FOMO is real and in our digital age today, it is almost impossible to ignore.

When we see people engaging and having fun, it is human nature to compare and experience the “fear of missing out.” To be honest, people of all ages can experience FOMO. For example, working or deployed parents often worry that they’re missing their children’s milestones and magical moments. Young adults who are in graduate school and working full time may see their high school friend whose path at that time is traveling and teaching abroad and think- I’m missing out! Heck, I have experienced this. I became resentful at times for having to work or being in school and it caused me a mixture of anxiety and depression. This is real and truth is, most people experience this as we are all hardwired for connection and acceptance.

This “fear of missing out”, or FOMO, refers to the anxiety and discomfort someone feels when they think they’re missing out on fun or meaningful experiences. It’s normal to feel down when you miss an event.

The negative effects of social media are far-reaching.

FOMO is also linked to social media addiction, in that anxiety in possibly being left out or uninformed fuels the need to keep visiting social media sites. Teens are among the most susceptible to FOMO because they highly value social acceptance and popularity with peers. It is natural part of that developmental period in our lives to start comparing.

FOMO Texting teenThe strong influence of social media on teenagers is well-known and documented. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, 81% of teens use social media, compared with 72% of adults. FOMO negatively affects teenagers’ physical and mental health. This includes anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, loneliness.

FOMO can be traced to social comparison theory, the notion that people determine their social value and self-worth based on comparing themselves to others in a positive or negative light.

In early adolescence, we have concrete, black-and-white thinking. Things are either right or wrong, great or terrible, without much room in between.  It is normal at this stage for young people to center their thinking on themselves (called “egocentrism”).  You’ll often see in preteens and early teens a new kind of self-consciousness about their appearance, as feel as though they are always being judged by their peers.

As preteens, we begin developing an increased need for privacy. The need for independence, if it hasn’t already, will start to make itself more apparent.  In this process, kids may push boundaries and may react strongly if parents or guardians reinforce limits.

Enter, “angsty” teen years.

As they struggle with this increased desire for independence, many middle adolescents have more arguments with their parents. Rest assured, as frustrating as this may be, it is a natural. They may spend less time with family and more time with friends. They’ll become more concerned with their appearance and peer pressure may peak at this age.

 
There is some good news, maturity of the brain starts around this middle adolescent stage too. We’ve still got a bit to go through before the brain is fully developed into a functioning adult’s brain. The frontal lobes are the last areas of the brain to mature and are not complete until a person is well into their 20s! The frontal lobes play a big role in coordinating complex decision making, impulse control, and being able to consider multiple options and consequences. Middle adolescents are more able to think abstractly and consider “the big picture,” but they still may lack the ability to apply it in the moment.
 

 

Honor independence and individuality. This is all part of moving into early adulthood. Always remind your child you are there to help when needed.
 

 

Here are some helpful reminders of quick talking points for parents and teens:

• Talk with your teen about their concerns and pay attention to any changes in their behavior. Ask them if they have had suicidal thoughts, particularly if they seem sad or depressed. Just asking about suicidal thoughts will not cause them to have these thoughts, but it will let them know that you care about how they feel. Seek professional help if necessary.

• Show interest in your teen’s school and extracurricular interests and activities and encourage them to become involved in activities such as sports, music, theater, and art.

• Encourage your teen to volunteer and become involved in civic activities in their community.

• Compliment your teen and celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.

• Show affection for your teen. Spend time together doing things you enjoy.

• Respect your teen’s opinion. Listen to them without playing down their concerns.

• Encourage your teen to develop solutions to problems or conflicts. Help your teenager learn to make good decisions. Create opportunities for them to use their own judgment, and be available for advice and support.

• When your teen engages in interactive internet media such as games, chat rooms, and instant messaging, encourage them to make good decisions about what they post and the amount of time they spend on these activities.

• If your teen works, use the opportunity to talk about expectations, responsibilities, and other ways of behaving respectfully in a public setting.

• Talk with your teen and help them plan ahead for difficult or uncomfortable situations. Discuss what they can do if they are in a group and someone is using drugs or under pressure to have sex or is offered a ride by someone who has been drinking.

• Respect your teen’s need for privacy.

• Encourage your teen to get enough sleep and exercise, and to eat healthy, balanced meals.
 

Sending you light and love,
Claire

~ You are worthy. You are capable. You are enough! ~

Claibourne Counseling Logo

 

 
“Did you see Sally’s post? I wasn’t even invited to that. I’m a loser.” “Shane made the varsity football team!? He seems to have a new crew – I guess I don’t belong.” Upset teenage girl with FOMO “I don’t even want to celebrate my birthday this year, no one will bring me balloons or make a big deal out of it like they did for Sammy.” If you’ve got a tween or teen, chances are you’ve heard some version of these statements. As trivial as they may seem to older & wiser ears, these situations can be life-shattering to young, developing minds.

FOMO is real and in our digital age today, it is almost impossible to ignore.

When we see people engaging and having fun, it is human nature to compare and experience the “fear of missing out.” To be honest, people of all ages can experience FOMO. For example, working or deployed parents often worry that they’re missing their children’s milestones and magical moments. Young adults who are in graduate school and working full time may see their high school friend whose path at that time is traveling and teaching abroad and think- I’m missing out! Heck, I have experienced this. I became resentful at times for having to work or being in school and it caused me a mixture of anxiety and depression. This is real and truth is, most people experience this as we are all hardwired for connection and acceptance. This “fear of missing out”, or FOMO, refers to the anxiety and discomfort someone feels when they think they’re missing out on fun or meaningful experiences. It’s normal to feel down when you miss an event.

The negative effects of social media are far-reaching.

FOMO is also linked to social media addiction, in that anxiety in possibly being left out or uninformed fuels the need to keep visiting social media sites. Teens are among the most susceptible to FOMO because they highly value social acceptance and popularity with peers. It is natural part of that developmental period in our lives to start comparing. FOMO Texting teenThe strong influence of social media on teenagers is well-known and documented. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, 81% of teens use social media, compared with 72% of adults. FOMO negatively affects teenagers’ physical and mental health. This includes anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, loneliness. FOMO can be traced to social comparison theory, the notion that people determine their social value and self-worth based on comparing themselves to others in a positive or negative light. In early adolescence, we have concrete, black-and-white thinking. Things are either right or wrong, great or terrible, without much room in between.  It is normal at this stage for young people to center their thinking on themselves (called “egocentrism”).  You’ll often see in preteens and early teens a new kind of self-consciousness about their appearance, as feel as though they are always being judged by their peers. As preteens, we begin developing an increased need for privacy. The need for independence, if it hasn’t already, will start to make itself more apparent.  In this process, kids may push boundaries and may react strongly if parents or guardians reinforce limits.

Enter, “angsty” teen years.

As they struggle with this increased desire for independence, many middle adolescents have more arguments with their parents. Rest assured, as frustrating as this may be, it is a natural. They may spend less time with family and more time with friends. They’ll become more concerned with their appearance and peer pressure may peak at this age.
There is some good news, maturity of the brain starts around this middle adolescent stage too. We’ve still got a bit to go through before the brain is fully developed into a functioning adult’s brain. The frontal lobes are the last areas of the brain to mature and are not complete until a person is well into their 20s! The frontal lobes play a big role in coordinating complex decision making, impulse control, and being able to consider multiple options and consequences. Middle adolescents are more able to think abstractly and consider “the big picture,” but they still may lack the ability to apply it in the moment.
 
Honor independence and individuality. This is all part of moving into early adulthood. Always remind your child you are there to help when needed.
 

Here are some helpful reminders of quick talking points for parents and teens:

• Talk with your teen about their concerns and pay attention to any changes in their behavior. Ask them if they have had suicidal thoughts, particularly if they seem sad or depressed. Just asking about suicidal thoughts will not cause them to have these thoughts, but it will let them know that you care about how they feel. Seek professional help if necessary. how to talk to my teenager
• Show interest in your teen’s school and extracurricular interests and activities and encourage them to become involved in activities such as sports, music, theater, and art.
• Encourage your teen to volunteer and become involved in civic activities in their community.
• Compliment your teen and celebrate their efforts and accomplishments.
• Show affection for your teen. Spend time together doing things you enjoy.
• Respect your teen’s opinion. Listen to them without playing down their concerns.
• Encourage your teen to develop solutions to problems or conflicts. Help your teenager learn to make good decisions. Create opportunities for them to use their own judgment, and be available for advice and support.
• When your teen engages in interactive internet media such as games, chat rooms, and instant messaging, encourage them to make good decisions about what they post and the amount of time they spend on these activities.
• If your teen works, use the opportunity to talk about expectations, responsibilities, and other ways of behaving respectfully in a public setting.
• Talk with your teen and help them plan ahead for difficult or uncomfortable situations. Discuss what they can do if they are in a group and someone is using drugs or under pressure to have sex or is offered a ride by someone who has been drinking.
• Respect your teen’s need for privacy.
• Encourage your teen to get enough sleep and exercise, and to eat healthy, balanced meals.
Sending you light and love, Claire

~ You are worthy. You are capable. You are enough! ~

Claibourne Counseling Logo