“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” By Samuel Johnson

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a reality for many students as we are becoming a more connected society and using social media. With Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Four-Square, to name just a few, we basically know (at least think we know) what everyone is doing and where they are. Below is a spoof video, of a very real feeling many students have.

While working on a digital citizenship project and listening to students talk about their memorial day plans, it got me thinking about FOMO. I started to researching more about it and finding lots of psychology articles on it about Mom’s having FOMO and co-workers but nothing about addressing the issue with students. This shocked me! I believe FOMO needs to be part of our digital citizenship lessons in the classroom as it is apart of digital literacy and etiquette. It should be talked about and discussed as FOMO can contribute to anxiety and depression in students. Here are the three ways I think we can address this issues for the students in the classroom:

1. Self-Esteem: We need to teach and foster self-esteem in the classroom. How do you do this and address FOMO? One way is to emphasize to students not everything someone posts, tweets etc are always true. We also need to address responsibility of ones actions. Jack Canfield’s ASCD article: Improving Students’ Self-Esteem writes about 10 steps teachers can take to help build self-esteem. “He states we must assume an attitude of 100% responsibility for our actions.” He discusses that the formula: E (events) + R (Response to them) = O (Outcomes). We need to teach our students that it is okay that you don’t get invited to every party or get together with friends but how you react to these situations is critical. Reminding them it doesn’t mean they like you less or that they don’t like you at all. If a ‘friend’ consistently does want to hang out with you, think about maybe why? Are you always complaining, or causing drama? If not, asking your friends after they don’t invite you to events a few times is okay. This brings me to my next point.

2. Communication: One of the most important 21st century skill is teaching students how to communicate on and off-line. We need to teach students about tone of communication because often times with email, messages and status updates what people communicate gets lost in translation or can come off a different way than meaning too. Taking the above situation, it is also important for students to realize that with friendships, and really any relationship, it is important to communicate. Along with communication, comes intrapersonal communication (also known as self talk) that Canfield discusses as well. We need to discuss self-talk with students and teach them that they control their minds. Students need to be stating positive messages and not negative ones. For more about self-talk check out this article: Challenging Negative Self-Talk by Dr, Martin

3. Choice: Students need to know they have choice and that they can’t be everywhere at once. If they want a quiet evening at home, that is their choice. They shouldn’t feel guilty for not going to the cool party etc. Also recalling, they don’t always have to be ‘plugged’ in can help as well. They can take a break from social media and the world won’t end.

How are you addressing these issues in the classroom? I would love to know, please comment with your ideas. Want to read more about FOMO, check out these articles and infographic.

Life Dissatisfaction Linked With Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out Drives Use of Social Media

New York Times: Feel like a Wallflower? Maybe It’s Your Facebook Wall?

social-media-fomo

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