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Taking a break from FOMO

Since the ubiquity of the iphone in the hands of everyone above middle school around 2011, we got a window into the whole world of possibilities at our fingertips. According to leading scholar on this phone addiction problem, Jonathan Haight, (the Anxious Generation) ( this uptick in diving into the phone at younger and younger ages and stages coincided with the trend of “over-parenting” and fear about the world at large for many legitimate reasons. Also bad stuff got “amplified.” As an early adopter of technology and a “tech-positive” person which was rare in my generation, I was hard-pressed to admit the phones had launched a certain profound negativity. But it happened. Put it all together and social media is especially proven to cause FOMO for women -- not correlate but cause,-- and you get depression and anxiety and suicidal ideation in girls. So FOMO, yeah, that algorithm that you perceive to be missing out on is REAL.

By the way, you might ask why girls/young women? Surely boys suffer from FOMO too? It turns out based on Haight’s research, it just doesn’t bear out in data. Girls spend a bazillion more time on their phones than boys do. This IS the reason. Boys have issues with gaming addiction, but that is another beast.

According to this blogger, the best antidote to FOMO is JOMO [joy of missing out] - “Saying “no,” is allowing me to say “yes” to the things that matter.” (

Nevertheless, as we all know from reality-checking, there’s no substitute for real experience, even if it’s an epic fail. But there will always be someone with less and someone with more; people who seem eternally full of great adventures, and those stuck in someone’s basement. Life ain’t easy in the big bad capitalism that we’ve built. We’re always working. Time to lighten up. Instead of doom scrolling for what you’re missing, start doing whatever it is that you really want to do. You see, you’re not missing anything. Nothing. It’s just a “curated” photo. When I see that I’m obviously omitted, excluded and not thought of even I used to be devastated long before the Internet existed. Now I thank God every day that I have developed the strength of character to say, “I don’t like these people anyway.” Or, “Who cares?” It only took me personally decades to realize, you only need a few REAL friends who WANT to be with you, who are your ride or die. Not an entourage. We have no control over the rest.


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