Seen At 11: Can Social Media Be A Source Of Digital Anxiety?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s hard to resist sneaking a peek at your phone or computer, even when you know you should be doing other things.

As CBS2’s Kristine Johnson reported, for many, it’s a fear of missing out or “FOMO” and it’s causing digital anxiety.

“When you go onto Instagram and you see all your friends hanging out, and there’s a bunch of pictures, you automatically assume you are missing out on something,” said Danielle.

“When you’re busy and you say you can’t go somewhere, you’re just like, ‘What did I miss?'” said Alessia.

Thanks to social media, that regret is taken to new heights and FOMO can turn into envy and obsession.

“Anyone can go online 24 hours a day and see: ‘There was a party; why wasn’t I there? Why am I not on vacation?’ And we start comparing ourselves to others and everybody’s life is going to look better than ours,” said psychotherapist Diane Lang.

Lang said the situation can become even more intense because of the constant stream of texts, pictures and videos that live online.

“It can make you feel jealousy, resentment, envy, frustration in our own lives,” Lang said. “When we think other people’s lives are better than ours, it can make us feel lonely or sad or make us feel we have a lack of social life.”

“It makes me feel alone, I guess, when I have all these things to do and I’m missing out,” said Alessia.

“I get anxious, like ‘What am I missing?’ or I get nervous ‘What if something happens that I’m not here for it?” said Danielle.

“FOMO is the social equivalent of the grass is always greener,” said Mark Ellwood, social media expert.

Ellwood said the pictures from parties and other events that are posted on social media often look better and are more exciting than what really happened, and for teens and young adults that will always be a problem.

“The biggest cause of anxiety right now is FOMO, but it has a simple cure. Just put down the phone,” Ellwood said.

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