If you’re a part of the millennial generation, chances are you’ve experienced some form of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). As a sufferer of FOMO, I can attest that this emotion is typically brought on through the viewing of various social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
According to a new study by the researchers at Pew Research Center, just the opposite is true: overall, frequent Internet and social media users do not have higher levels of stress. Furthermore, “the relationship between stress and social media use is indirect. It is the social uses of digital technologies, and the way they increase awareness of distressing events in others’ lives, that explains how the use of social media can result in users feeling more stress.” Considering the amount of distressing information populating your daily newsfeed, such as the loss of a relative or a personal hardship, this relationship comes as no surprise.
It seems that technology has simply morphed the way we communicate rather than completely reinvented it. “Just as the telephone made it easier to maintain in-person relationships but neither replaced nor ruined them, this recent research suggests that digital technology can become a tool to augment the relationships,” concludes The Upshot’s Claire Cain Miller.
According to Keith Hampton, a sociologist at Rutgers and author of the study, FOMO is “yet another example of how we overestimate the effect these technologies are having in our lives.”
Catch the full breakdown over at The New York Times.