Social media causes FOMO

Teenagers who frequently use social media are more likely to worry they are missing out on things, a new study has found.

The Australian Psychological Society published its fifth national Stress and Wellbeing survey.

CONNECTED: Staying in touch is becoming a priority for more and more young people, but a study has found it can cause more worry about missing out on things.

CONNECTED: Staying in touch is becoming a priority for more and more young people, but a study has found it can cause more worry about missing out on things.

It surveyed 210 teenagers and found heavy social media users were more likely than light users to experience FOMO in all areas.

Albury Wodonga Health clinical leader psychologist Karen Black said she had seen more people experience social media related issues on the Border.

“For a lot of parents, the kids get really upset with what's happening on social media and the parents say ‘well just turn your phone off’ and they just can't do it,” she said.

“One of the other things I think is people look online for validation, which is tricky because young people aren't learning to self validate.

“You put something on there about how something sucks then everyone agrees, it makes you feel better - so it justifies your emotion about a situation.”

Visiting social media sites to manage stress increased from 37 per cent in 2011 to 51 per cent in 2015.

A quarter of teenagers said they were constantly on social media, compared to only six per cent of adults.

More than half the teenagers surveyed were heavy social media users and half said they experience FOMO.

Ms Black said, while online connection was inevitable, there were things parents and teenagers could do to alleviate some of the stress.

“Parents should try to understand it and allow it to have a place in the young person’s life - not be their life,” she said.

“And learn other skills and strategies to manage stress beyond social media.”

Keeping up with social media was reported as a source of stress for 12 per cent of all ages surveyed.

Teenagers who spent less time online said they felt less burnt out, less like they are missing out and less likely to worry if people don't like their posts.

For those who like to stay connected, heavy social media users felt they had stronger relationships, could more effectively seek help and set goals.