Social media fuels FOMO

Mia Gallo

Junior Greer Shanley of Fair Haven often finds herself constantly refreshing Snapchat and Instagram when her friends are all together but she is not there.

Urban Dictionary defines the term “FOMO” as an acronym for “fear of missing out.” In other terms, FOMO means being scared to miss a party or event because it could result in missing out on something great. With social media at the forefront of society, you can always see what your peers are up to, an option Shanley often uses.

FOMO actually comes from a primal feeling of fear. Even cavemen felt the need to be accepted as a part of their tribe, according to Slate.  Feelings of exclusion cause your brain to become physiologically stressed, which is what causes people, such as Shanley, to feel so bad afterwards that they never want to experience that again.

Many CHS students have “diagnosed” themselves with cases of FOMO. Shanley feels that since her parents are stricter than most, she constantly misses things.

I’m rarely allowed to do anything and I feel like I miss out on so much all the time. A lot of the time, my friends come back from things that I wasn’t able to go to and it’s so disappointing to hear and see how much you miss out on,” Shanley said.

Freshman Riley Forrester of Spring Lake Heights has experienced FOMO but not to the same degree as Shanley. Although Forrester finds it important to attend events, missing one or two is not a big deal.

“I think it is important for me to try and go to as many social events as I can, but its not a big deal if I can’t make it. And usually I’m more disappointed if I’m not invited to something. If I am invited and I just can’t go, I’m slightly afraid I’m going to miss out on a bunch of inside jokes and ‘remember when’ stories, but I still like to think that everyone is having a good time without me,” Forrester said.

After feelings of missing out, your brain may switch to a “checking behavior,” always scanning for new information that could prevent exclusion from the group, which is why Shanley felt the tendency to constantly refresh her social media.

For Shanley and many other CHS students, missing out is never fun. But, feelings of FOMO are natural and instinctive, dating back to ages way before the rise of Instagram and Snapchat.