Are you constantly on your phone checking Instagram, Facebook and Twitter while ignoring an actual, breathing human being near you?
Well then you might be suffering from FOMO.
“FOMO is the fear of missing out,” said clinical child psychologist Dr. George Sachs. Sound familiar?
“I have a charger with me right now because it only lasts like 5, 6 hours,” said Wes Kong of San Francisco, who very well may have FOMO.
“So I’ve been using an old Blackberry and then I got an Android, which is just recent, while I’m waiting to get my iPhone,” said Ella Kay of Midtown East, who clearly doesn’t want to miss out.
Sachs says even if you don’t struggle with the problem, chances are you know a teenager that does.
“They’re looking toward their friends as the main support and the phone is the tie that binds them together. And if they’re not accessing the phone all the time, then they don’t know what their friends are doing. And that can create anxiety, which is really what FOMO is.”
The phenomenon is now an official one, at least as far as the Oxford dictionary is concerned.
While you won’t find the problem listed in the DSM-5, the official psychiatric manual of mental disorders, the self-diagnoses are hashtagged all over Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
And as kids now head back to school, where many will be forced to fork over their phones and tablets, Doctor Sachs says the online angst can have real world consequences.
“It impacts their ability to function and their ability to pay attention to the teacher and be attentive because what they’re really focused on is their cell phone.”
“Doctor Sachs says the only way to really overcome FOMO is by putting down the technology. After a while, he says those feelings of anxiety will normalize. But in the short-term it can be pretty difficult.”
“Maybe the first week or the second week the kids are going to feel that anxiety, but by the sixth week, maybe October, November, if all the kids don’t have it, it will normalize for them.”
Felix Rosario says he’s not surprised by the attachment between young people and their technology.
“These kids now-a-days is more about computers and not being outside,” said Felix Rosario of Washington Heights.
That’s why he says his kids won’t have their own phones until they’re at least 17 or 18 year old.
“He should be with me all the time. If he needs to get in contact with a phone he should use my cell phone not his cell phone.”
But then again You Only Live Once. #YOLO.