Hold the phone: For teens, social media creates new type of anxiety: Guest commentary



As millennials go, my exposure to social media has been pretty minimal.

For instance, while many of my peers ventured there earlier, I wasn’t on Facebook until I was a freshman in high school. Since then, I’ve dabbled with a few other applications, including Twitter and Snapchat, but it wasn’t until this year — when I was required to do so as part of my participation in a school-related event — that I finally joined Instagram.

Since I joined the social media party, the most important discovery that I’ve made is that the things you see on these apps should never be taken at face value. Nothing on Instagram, Facebook or any other social media site is ever truly candid. In fact, almost everything is the result of meticulous planning.

Once I realized that not everyone around me was always having the most amazing experiences every moment of every day — as suggested by their social media posts — being on social media became a lot less stressful.

There’s no doubt about it: Social media has changed the way we think, for better or worse. One of the most prominent ways that social media affects a user can be seen in the state of social anxiety that has become known as Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. This occurs when one feels that friends are doing something “better” or “more fun” than they are, and can often be triggered by social media posts.

This anxiety is not restricted to just a fear of being left out of activities, but also a fear that whatever activity you’re participating in isn’t as fun as what your friends are doing. According to a recent study conducted by Eventbrite, 69 percent of millennials experience FOMO.

This social anxiety can lead to very real, serious consequences, including clinical depression, if left unchecked. But it’s all too easy to succumb to when social media only presents us with the most amazing aspects of people’s lives. Nobody posts about the boring moments. All…

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