Social Media and Anxiety

A new study on social media’s emotional impact: FOMO (the fear of missing out)
September 20, 2013

Constant social media influx is bringing to light a new anxiety condition called FOMO, the fear of missing out. FOMO is prompted by social media users who are away from or unable to check their social network accounts. In this leave of absence, users fear missing out on events, news and important status updates. Last month, a survey conducted by communication management site MyLife.com revealed 56% of the 2,084 adults sampled on their social media use claimed they do have FOMO.

The study’s social media statistics explain why people may be feeling more overwhelmed and anxious. Of users between the ages of 18-34, 61% said they are juggling multiple accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to name a few.)  An average of 31 minutes or more was found to be the amount of time spent checking these accounts daily. This also includes personal email. The study found people now average 3.1 email address accounts, up from 2.6 accounts last year.

Is social media addiction the issue? Twenty-six percent said they would trade habits such as smoking cigarettes or reality TV for access to social networking sites. It certainly seems like checking accounts is becoming habitual. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they check their accounts first thing in the morning.

The survey also bookmarked the frustration and backlash social media is causing due to FOMO. Fifty-two percent have either taken or have considered taking a break from their social media accounts in the past year. The biggest reasons? For 49%, their social media’s information was becoming too “irrelevant” for them, followed by 32% responding they felt they spent too much time on them.

Do you think you have FOMO? Take this test to see.

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