In the social media age, we must learn to avoid FOMO and pursue JOMO

In social media age, we must learn to avoid FOMO and pursue JOMO

In social media age, we must learn to avoid FOMO and pursue JOMO

Technology is reshaping the world in many ways. Within the broad reach of “tech development,” numerous revolutions are taking place, affecting our lives in different ways. If we compare our lives with the life which we were leading a decade back, it’s clear to see that most major aspects have become easier, more comfortable, and more secure.

Various gadgets, connected to the Internet, are changing the way we work, communicate, study, exercise, play, and behave. Potentially, we can become more happy and joyful if we learn to use technology rightly and judiciously, which is to say, for the greater good of all.  If not, there is no end to the problems it can cause.

Many of us feel overburdened and conflicted when bombarded by material that is so very difficult to resist. Whatever spare time we earlier had is now being spent on social media, watching and sharing information in various forms.

What is fear of missing out ?

When we are busy on digital media, we are intentionally or unintentionally under the spell of FOMO (fear of missing out). We don’t want to miss anything, especially the news and presumed fun that our friends are having.

There is an obsessive desire to check and see text messages and videos, whenever there is a notification sound. Even when notification is off, a powerful urge still compels many to check their mobile at short intervals. Whenever we post a message on, say, Facebook or Twitter, we seek the reward of “likes,” or responses of any kind.

The social media offers two things: instant gratification and a great variety of hyper-stimulating material of entertainment and information all the time. If we don’t like one thing within the first few seconds, we tend to switch over to something else.  Undivided attention is lost and there is lack of communication.  People are always distracted by their phones and gadgets. Most people have attention span of a few minutes. We are getting hesitant of giving undivided attention to the presence of another person and to personal conversations.

How Digital Addiction impact us.

Digital addiction is having wide impact on youngsters’ studies, health, career, and relationships. For instance, students need to pay full attention to their studies.  It’s becoming a challenge these days for students to pay attention in classroom. Focus is lacking. Students are not able to be attentive for a longer span of time.

To engage students during study hours in and outside of class has long been a challenge for teachers across the globe. As many students are mentally and physically occupied with social media obviously takes a toll on their studies, which in turn impacts their career. And as attention to studies decreases, work pressure from parents and teachers increases, and this leads to greater mental stress.

As we get more and more obsessed with our phones and computers for social media, it starts impacting our mind and body in different ways When we are busy on digital media, we are unintentionally under the grip of ‘fear of missing out’. (FOMO). We don’t want to miss anything.

We think if we don’t see the incoming messages and videos, we will be left out. There is an intensive desire to check the incoming material, whenever there is a notification sound. Even if notification is off, still a powerful urge is generated to check mobile at short intervals.

We are devoting more time on mobiles due to FOMO effect. Younger generations are especially getting badly trapped in this phenomenon.

In a nutshell, FOMO is real and taking a shape of an epidemic because of social media. Unchecked, the dangers of FOMO become apparent.  Hours spent on social media can even affect one’s mental health.

Attention span is reduced from the continuous temptations and rapid-fire pace of digital distractions. We are becoming attention deficient.  Because of this obsession with social media, increasing number of people of all age brackets have started suffering from mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Researchers are even recommending that social media addiction should be treated as a disease.

We have entered into a new era of social media. In this social media age, real life experiences had become less pleasurable and exciting. Interest for social interaction is getting reduced. Community participation is becoming less common. We don’t want to pay attention to anything, which is not exciting enough, for a longer time.

As attention span reduces, distraction increases and so is boredom. We are getting more restless and experience greater ‘satisfactoriness’. So, we are becoming more vulnerable to mental health problems. The younger generation especially college and school students are getting most affected since they are prone to obsessive use of social media. Studies are adversely impacted.   

Things we are actually missing out.

As more and more time is spent on social media, we miss out on real-life interaction and the authentic joy it offers. We are missing the joy of meeting our close friends and family members. This is also known as joy of missing out (JOMO).

We are missing our visits to library for reading books and magazines. We don’t want to take dinner with our family members and spend quality time with them. I don’t feel like sitting alone in our room for meditation and contemplation.

We fear to stay alone and get bored. We always want to keep ourselves busy with social media. Whatever spare time we had previously with us to enjoy, we are spending that time on our mobile or digital screen. What we don’t realize is that we are missing joy by diverting our time for social media. Joy of present moments is lost.   

Joy of missing out (JOMO) Antidote of FOMO

In a way, the joy of missing out (JOMO) is an antidote to FOMO. JOMO is essentially being present and satisfied with whatever we are doing. We should continue to spend time on activities that make us feel happy, like meeting personally with our friends or reading books or visiting temple daily for prayer in spare time.

We have Danish psychologist Svend Brinkmann to thank for the term JOMO — Joy of Missing Out. Brinkmann wrote a book of the same title, The Joy of Missing Out: The Art of Self-Restraint in an Age of Excess. Brinkmann argues that the biggest barrier to JOMO is the personal and cultural problem of FOMO.

We must enjoy without worrying about others. What’s coming on our social media shouldn’t seek our attention all the time. When we become aware of what we are missing by excessively using social media, we can reverse the adverse effect of FOMO.      

The fundamental point that we all need to understand is that true meaning and happiness are to be found in real-time interactions, pursuing meaningful and close relationships.

People can experience intense elation and happiness when they spend time together. Our ultimate aim is to enjoy life to the fullest. Quite simply, we enjoy life by experiencing happy and joyful moments. Such feelings can be enjoyed only when we are fully present in those moments. The real happiness lies in the present moments.

We need to be intentional with our time. Instead of anxiously responding to FOMO on social media, we must learn to be receptive to experiences that give us, as well as others, the feeling of joy and happiness. 

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