Helping Kids to Deal with FOMO
Helping kids to deal with FOMO is one of the most important things that parents can do to help their kids grow into successful adults. FOMO, is a very real and very dangerous phenomenon that can have a negative impact on kids’ lives if left unchecked.
Let's explore this topic in detail...
FOMO Meaning and how does it affect kids
FOMO means "Fear Of Missing Out" - It's the fear that an exciting or interesting event is taking place elsewhere right now, which may be triggered by social media updates.
The more they post pictures of themselves online and the more attention they get from their peers, the greater their fear becomes that someone else will be having an even better time without them around.
It can also be continually looking at past pictures, posts, or videos of happy moments, which can make them feel worse for not being there or wish their life was more exciting.
FOMO can ruin fun activities and family times as kids constantly worry about what might be happening elsewhere while they're not there to experience it.
It can also lead them into some risky and potentially dangerous behaviours as they'll feel bored and unfulfilled if their friends do something exciting without them.
It's important for parents to understand FOMO so they can help their kids deal with it in a healthy before things spiral out of control for
How Does FOMO Affect Kids?
FOMO affects kids in different ways. It can mean they turn down invitations to fun events because they don't want to miss out on something better that might be happening elsewhere at the same time, or it can lead them into risky behaviour.
Here are some common signs of FOMO in kids:
- They're unwilling to join the family for dinner or other planned activities - They'll prefer staying in their room and doing their own thing.
- They get calls from friends but ignore them because they feel like there are more fun things going on elsewhere - As a result, they end up missing out on important information or invitations.
- They make excuses not to come to family gatherings like parties or reunions because their Facebook friend/Instagram followers will be somewhere else having more fun.
Mayank Gupta and Aditya Sharma spoke about FOMO in their paper "Fear of missing out: A brief overview of origin, theoretical underpinnings and relationship with mental health."
In it they say "Today, more than ever, people are exposed to a lot of details about what others are doing; and people are faced with the continuous uncertainty about whether they are doing enough or if they are where they should be in terms of their life".
So, how exactly can we help our kids to deal with FOMO and its effects?
How to help kids deal with FOMO:
Here are some ideas that will help your kid overcome their FOMO while maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Ask Why your Kid is Experiencing FOMO
The first thing you should do is ask your kid why they are experiencing FOMO. Are they thinking about past events? Or are they constantly checking their social media sites to see what others are doing?
Becoming aware of the triggers of FOMO is important because it will allow you to take steps accordingly.
Talk to them about their Goals and Dreams
Some kids experience FOMO if they think that others have cooler or better lives than theirs. This can be a result of not having clear goals in life or not understanding what's most important to them.
One way you can help kids deal with this is by asking them "What do you want your life to look like?" "How would you like to spend this Friday night?" etc...
When they have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, it will make their lives more fulfilling and meaningful.
Encourage your Kid to Pursue Their Dreams
Sometimes FOMO can be a result of thinking that other people are just luckier than them. This is why you should encourage them to pursue their dreams and help them plan how they will get there.
You should also give them the space and freedom necessary for them to invest in themselves because this will allow them to experience success and happiness on their own terms.
Strengthen their Sense of Self Belief
There is no stronger antidote to FOMO than having a strong sense of self-belief. This is why it's so important for kids to understand who they are and what they want in life because this will give them the confidence they need to deal with any situation.
For example, if your kid doesn't feel like going out sometimes, show them how to overcome their fears by using relaxation strategies or mindfulness techniques.
Focus On Having Fun Together as a Family
This will give them a chance to spend quality time with their family, which is the most important thing in life.
Encourage Kids to Socialise More
As kids get older, they naturally spend less time socialising face-to-face and more time online in the virtual world. But it's important for them not to lose out on these opportunities because of their fear about what other people might be doing elsewhere at the same time.
Encourage them to prioritise social activities; help them see that people won't stop having fun just because they're not around and point out all the positive things that happen offline too (such as making new friends).
Consider a Digital Detox for your Kids
It's important to teach kids the difference between what needs urgent attention and what can wait.
This will help them solve problems that are right in front of their eyes vs being distracted by problems from the past or from others online.
If they spend too much time on social media, you might want to consider taking a digital detox break with them because this could lead to serenity, creativity and happiness in life.
Assure Them That They Don't have to Be Perfect
Since social media can make people think that there's no room for mistakes, it might be important to assure your kids that they don't have to be perfect.
Perfectionism is one of the key causes of FOMO because many people feel like they need to be perfect in every area of their lives (academic success, popularity with friends, etc.). You should point out to your kids that nobody is perfect and teach them how to deal with their mistakes so they learn from them.
These are just some of the ways you can help your kids deal with FOMO without losing control over their life. Remember, sometimes you shouldn't do everything by yourself...especially when a professional psychologist or a psychiatrist can also help!
Set An Example
Setting an example means cutting down on social media use yourself. If you use social media a lot, it can be confusing for your kids since they might think that the way to deal with FOMO is through being online.
By cutting down how much you use social media, it will help you become a better role model for your kids and show them how to deal with their FOMO in a more appropriate way.
Sorry about the last point, but we could all do with cutting down on social media use for a bit :)
It's very easy to let FOMO affect your life and the lives of your kids if you aren't careful, but hopefully, this article has given you some ideas about how to deal with it appropriately and keep everything balanced in life.
Has your kid ever experienced FOMO?
If so, how did they overcome it and what tips would you give to others who are stuck in that situation?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.