Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Irylan. Irylan Wonders, “Does social media benefit you in any way?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Irylan!
Do you like using social media? When it comes to keeping up with what your friends are doing, do you turn to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter?
You need to be careful, though. Social media can be addicting! You've probably had a parent, relative, teacher, or other adult tell you to stop spending so much time on your smartphone, computer, or other electronic devices.
Guess what? They're right! And their warning doesn't just apply to kids. It applies to everyone on social media. Although social media has its positive aspects, it can also have some serious negative consequences.
For example, have you ever been bored and decided to check social media, only to find out that your best friend is at Disneyland, one of your classmates is eating delicious pizza at your favorite pizzeria, and one of your travel soccer teammates is climbing the Eiffel Tower in Paris?
Oh man! You're really missing out! At least that's what you might think. Have you ever had that feeling that others are experiencing things and life more than you are? Researchers call that feeling the fear of missing out or FoMO.
FoMO is a real phenomenon that over 75% of young people report feeling from time to time. Social media is a primary culprit, because it's so easy today to scroll through to see what your friends are doing, eating, buying, or talking about.
Unfortunately, we only have so much time in the day and only so much money to spend on food, entertainment, or recreation. It would be impossible to enjoy all the same activities we see others engaged in on social media.
Rather than realizing this basic truth, though, we tend to let FoMO lead us to compare our lives to those of others on social media. This comparison inevitably leaves us feeling dissatisfied. Why? We know all the aspects of our lives — both good and bad. But all we see on social media are the picture-perfect moments others share.
As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." FoMO leads us to check social media more frequently, leading to addiction and a negative cycle that can be tough to break. Researchers have found that social media and FoMO can lead to serious negative consequences, including feelings of depression, loneliness, and boredom.
So how do we break the cycle and avoid FoMO? Researchers recommend that we stop looking to social media for happiness. Instead, we should focus our attention on our real lives, including the people around us and all the things we're grateful for.
The more grateful you are for what you already have, the happier you will be. Limit your use of social media. Stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, use social media to set up real-life, face-to-face get-togethers with your friends and family members.
Stop living vicariously through others and use others' experiences as inspiration to try something new. If you let FoMO control you, the only thing you'll really be missing out on is your own life. And life's too short for that!
So get out in the real world and have real experiences with your real friends and family members. Nothing can compare to good memories made with the ones you love.