Are you spending excessive time on social media and doomscrolling? FOMO could be the culprit.

Are you spending excessive time on social media and doomscrolling? FOMO could be the culprit.

The internet has had a significant impact on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors since its inception. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people turned to the internet to stay connected while facing restrictions and lockdowns. However, as pandemic restrictions ease, certain internet behaviors have become concerning, particularly related to the fear of missing out (FOMO).

FOMO is the fear of feeling left out or missing out on social events or experiences. It has been linked to mental health issues, alcohol use, and problematic social media use. Problematic social media use occurs when individuals struggle to control their social media usage and it negatively affects their daily lives. Doomscrolling is another behavior that has gained attention during the pandemic, characterized by constantly seeking out negative news.

In a recent study, researchers explored the role of FOMO in problematic social media use and doomscrolling. They hypothesized that individuals with FOMO struggle to manage their emotions, leading to these problematic behaviors. The study also examined the role of interpersonal emotion regulation, which involves seeking support from others to manage emotions.

The findings revealed that individuals with stronger FOMO engage in problematic social media use due to difficulties in intrapersonal emotion regulation (managing their own emotions) and seeking help from others (interpersonal emotion regulation). Similarly, individuals with stronger FOMO are drawn to doomscrolling due to difficulties in intrapersonal emotion regulation. However, there was no significant link between FOMO and doomscrolling through interpersonal emotion regulation.

The researchers suggest that this difference may be because doomscrolling is often a solitary activity, lacking the social context that facilitates interpersonal emotion regulation. While previous studies have observed a connection between FOMO and doomscrolling, this study provides a theoretical explanation for this relationship.

The study highlights the importance of balancing the need for social connection online with the negative consequences of problematic internet use. Discussions around restricting social media use for young people are crucial, considering the impact on mental health and socialization outcomes. Public health experts and legislators face the challenge of finding the right balance between allowing individuals to use social media as they please while protecting users from harm and safeguarding their privacy.

If you are concerned about problematic social media use or doomscrolling, it is recommended to seek help from healthcare or mental health professionals. Lifeline and other crisis support services are also available for assistance.