Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, popular among young people, have become more than just social platforms, thanks to which you can contact your family and friends. And since there are applications for iOS and Android, you don't have to give up being online all the time - neither at work, on the road, nor even while you sleep. Does this have any negative consequences? And if so, which ones? The phenomenon that recently began to affect not only young people is the so-called FOMO. You will know everything in a moment.
Some studies have warned that young people can become addicted to social media. Still others linked them with poor sleep quality, low self-esteem, loneliness and mental health problems. Do you know that mental health problems are at the forefront of the most common diseases among millennials?
A 2019 study at the prestigious Stanford University in the United States even suggested that giving up Facebook improves well-being in the long run.
But how do you opt out of social media when you use them for work or private contact with many people?
A 2018 study of students at the University of Pennsylvania tried to find a reasonable compromise.
Participants were divided into two groups. The control group did not have to change their behavior in any way. In turn, the second group was to limit the use of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to 10 minutes a day on each platform. After 3 weeks, students felt lonely and depressed.
This strange-sounding word is an acronym for "fear of missing out", or fear of being omitted, fear of exclusion.
What does it mean?
You've definitely missed a major school or social event as a child. Maybe you weren't at your friend's birthday because you had chickenpox or you weren't at the school disco because your parents gave you a detention.
Do you remember how you felt then?
Certainly you were nervous that you missed something and at the first possible moment you wanted to find out what happened there. You didn't want to be excluded from the class or from a group of friends and peers.
That's what children and adults feel today when they haven't checked their social media accounts for a while.
They play today the role of former yards, where everyone could meet and happen the most interesting things. FOMO is not just a phenomenon affecting millennials and has a proven negative impact on mental health. However, FOMO specialists are far from unambiguous advice to completely opt out of using social media.
Instead, they point out that more and more games and applications are becoming an integral part of our lives.
Keith Hampton, who is a professor of media and information at the University of Michigan, analyzed the impact of Facebook on over 5,000 adult Americans. His intention was to check the thesis about the harmfulness of social media.
His analysis showed that 63% of social media users were less likely to experience mental problems such as depression and anxiety, compared to people who don't use them. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
Is using social media harmful? Let's return for a moment to the study of the University of Pennsylvania students we previously quoted. According to him, the control group, which did not change the pattern of using social media in any way, also felt positive changes.
The subjects feel less anxious and FOMO - and the same as in the group that limited social media. What of this conclusion? You may need to be careful to look at how many and why you use different platforms, by feeling better.
According to researchers, whether social media is harmful to you may depend on why you use them. There is a big difference between using Facebook negatively as a place to compare yourself and positively - as platforms that help you stay in touch with your responsibilities. And how do you use social media?