How Kids can Beat FOMO in the New Normal
With the lockdowns easing up, some kids and teens are feeling the FOMO. Here’s how they can deal with it.
With the pandemic keeping our kids and teens inside, we can feel their frustration when they see their young adult cousins or siblings go out freely. They might even be suffering from vaccine envy — a recent phenomenon that describes people who become envious because they haven’t gotten their COVID-19 vaccine yet. But the biggest source of our kids’ frustration, anxiety, and depression might be FOMO or what we know as the fear of missing out.
What is FOMO?
FOMO or fear of missing out happens often in teens and kids when they see other people enjoying things. It’s a fear that results in envy especially when kids and teens are at the stage in their lifespan where peers play a big role in teaching them about the world. FOMO further enhances their feelings of loneliness since they don’t have anyone to identify with.
Can the digital world help our kids fight FOMO?
In some way, chatrooms and video games have made it easier for our kids to deal with FOMO. They may be stuck at home but playing video games with other kids their age allows them to connect without going out. Some studies have shown that video games — being an alternate reality — can serve as a testing ground for kids to experiment with their identities, connect with other people, and learn new things with little risks involved. They usually do it by creating their own characters in role-playing games, choosing champions in their favorite MOBA games with skins that reflect their fashion choice, and even experimenting on their in-game name—making it easier for them to immerse in a new environment.
While some of us are on the fence about how much screen time is too much, we know that all it takes is a little balancing and negotiation with our kids to make sure they don’t stay in front of the screen too long.
How else can we help our kids fight FOMO?
While they have friends in the digital realm, we can help our kids fight FOMO with a little creativity and imagination. Although studies and psychologists have been advising to create routines to restore a sense of control, it’s also good to introduce some novelty to the routine. It can be ordering food from a place they haven’t eaten in before. Or, even us parents—we can try to play video games with them. FOMO often happens because they see other people doing new things and like any one of us, they want in.
Fighting in the New Normal
Although our kids can sometimes be a bit tougher than we believe, that doesn’t mean they don’t get burned out, too. The National Survey on Mental Health and Well-being did show that the pandemic caused feelings of depression and anxiety in kids which may be due to FOMO and the loss of control of their lives. And while some of us would rather not say to keep the morale up, having open and positive communication about FOMO with our kids via active listening and gentle parenting can help them cope with the mess COVID-19 gave them.