Insecurity reached a new peak about two years ago when everyone started worrying about “fear of missing out” or “FOMO.” If you’re not familiar, it’s exactly what it sounds like: A pervasive fear that everyone is hanging out without you and that, consequently, you have a low social rank or are less cool than your peers. And now you can find out just how bad your FOMO is—and you know you don’t want to miss out on this.
While people have always been concerned about their social standing, in recent years, the advent of social media has taken the fear of missing out to a whole new level. So researchers at the University of Essex decided to attempt to analyze just how bad the problem's become. As part of the study, they developed a quiz that aims to help people recognize the severity of their FOMO as well as compare themselves to the general population.
The researchers determined that because social media makes it so easy for us to delve into the lives of our friends and colleagues and see updates in real time (OMG, best night ever! YOLOLL!), it's easy for people who suffer from severe FOMO to get caught up in worrying about what everyone else is doing and forget about their own lives or activities. Perhaps it's not surprising that the age group most likely to suffer from FOMO is those 18 to 35. Men are also slightly more likely to suffer from FOMO than women, though it's unclear why.
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Additionally, the researchers found that social factors play a role in the severity of someone's FOMO. Lead author Andy Przybylski, Ph.D., told Science Daily that if people's "psychological needs" aren't being met, they're more likely to seek out social media. According to the study, those with a high level of FOMO are more likely to give in to the temptation of composing and checking emails or texts while driving and are more likely to be distracted by social media during mundane, everyday things. Lastly, those with high levels of FOMO are also more likely to have mixed feelings about social media use than those with low levels of FOMO.
Do you suffer from FOMO? Take the quiz and find out, then tell us in the comments below!