#FOMO: Teen Anxiety, Depression, And Social Media Burnout

08/11/2015 4:03 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Brendan O'Sullivan via Getty Images
Girl using laptop

One in two teenagers suffer from the fear of missing out according to the annual stress and wellbeing survey conducted by the Australian Psychological Society.

And three in five teenagers are suffering "burnout" from constant connectivity, the report found.

In findings released today to mark the beginning of Psychology Week, the survey for the first time looked at the impact of social media on wellbeing, and although there were many positives from connecting on social media, the negative impacts were concerning, especially for youths.

Over half (53 per cent) of Australian teenagers surveyed said they used social networking sites for 15 minutes before sleeping every night, while 57% of all surveyed teens found it difficult to relax or sleep after spending time on social networking sites.

APS survey spokesperson, clinical psychologist Andrew Fuller said while heavy social media use has reported benefits, it’s important to be aware of the negative impact it can have on wellbeing.

“More than half of all Australian teenagers (56%) are heavy social media users. They reported benefits including stronger relationships, more effective goal setting, ability to seek help through social media, as well as feeling part of a global community," he said.

“However, those teens who were heavy users also reported higher levels of FOMO. They report fearing their friends were having more rewarding experiences than them (54%), being worried when they find out their friends are having fun without them (60%), and being bothered when they miss out on a planned get together (63%).”

The survey found the less time teens spend on social media the less they feel burnt out by it, the less they feel they are missing out, the less they are concerned that people will post ugly pictures of them, and they are less likely to feel bad about themselves if people didn’t ‘like’ their social media posts.

The findings also showed that the impact of FOMO does not stop once you enter adulthood. The survey showed 18 to 35-year-olds reported the highest levels of FOMO amongst adults. However, this age group also reported that they were more likely to feel empowered to seek help through social media, to enrich their professional networks, and feel motivated to achieve health-related goals.

"Young people, in particular, may need some assistance to moderate their social media use so it doesn’t have a negative impact on them,” Mr Fuller said.

More On This Topic