Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by Ellen Christian
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Have you had to discuss social media FOMO with your teens? Or is it a problem that you’re struggling with yourself? Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a relatively new phenomenon. But, it’s something that many children, teens, and even adults struggle with every day. It’s that fear that someone else is doing or seeing something that you aren’t involved in. So, according to studies, social media FOMO can lead to depression in both teenagers and adults.
How to Discuss Social Media FOMO With Your Teens
As a blogger, I love social media. And, I spend a lot of time online each day working on and checking out my favorite social media sites. My kids are 18 and 23, so we don’t set limits on their cell phone or social media use any longer. We hope that by this age they’ve learned how to use it appropriately. But, FOMO isn’t something that only happens with children and teenagers. Even as an adult, I find myself checking Facebook and Instagram even when I shouldn’t be working just to see who’s doing what and what I might be missing.
What is FOMO in social media?
As adults, we (hopefully) understand that our worth isn’t tied to what event we were or weren’t invited to or whether or not we were chosen to receive that new refrigerator all of the bloggers are buzzing about. Our kids may not have developed that understanding yet. So, that’s why social media FOMO can be such an issue with them. Have you ever seen your teenager dejected over the party *everyone* was going to that they didn’t get invited to attend? Or that their best friend is at the mall with someone else (and didn’t ask them to come along)? Social media lets your child know instantly what they might be missing out on because everyone shares their status updates.
If you’ve wondered how to discuss social media FOMO with your teens, I wanted to share a few tips that have worked for me. It’s not an easy topic. And, it’s probably not one that your teens are going to be enthusiastic about solving. But, it is a necessary discussion to have. Chances are they’ll deny it’s a problem in the beginning.
How to discuss social media FOMO with kids
- Talk to your kids early and often about social media FOMO. Help them understand that their self-worth isn’t tied to how many likes they get on their status update or their new profile photo. Get your kids used to talking to you about what they’re doing on social media. I’ve always told my kids that I would rather see what they’re doing and not agree with it than not see it.
- Limit the amount of time they spend on social media. While this is difficult once your teenager gets older, it’s possible for your younger child. Do try to set limits like no cell phones in the bedroom which will limit late-night social media usage.
- Encourage unplugged times. Get the family together for a weekend outing and declare it an unplugged time. Have everyone leave their cell phones at home. If you need to, bring yours with you in the case of an emergency but be sure to leave it in the glove box in the car.
- Lead by example. Your kids are not going to willingly limit their time on their cell phone or believe you when you discuss the dangers of social media FOMO if they see you on your phone 24/7.
- Let your child know you are there for them to talk to. Have an honest discussion with your child about what they see on social media. Let them know that you’ll listen to them without being judgmental.
Shows you can watch together
So, it’s not easy to discuss these topics with your kids. Thankfully, Netflix has a number of different shows you can watch to get the conversation started. From peer pressure with Fuller House to Social Media FOMO with Girl Meets Boy. Parents of younger children may want to tackle sibling rivalry with Babee’s Room.
You can watch a variety of family-friendly shows that explore a range of real-life issues with equal measures of humor, angst, and heart. So, no matter your situation, chances are there’s a show and episode that can kickstart a dialogue around the topic just by watching it together. So, it’s never too late to start talking because it’s the first step.
Finally, how will you discuss social media FOMO with your kids? Or, you can learn more about teaching teens manners.
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.