A new report looking at the way social media impacts wellbeing suggests that the fear of missing out (or FOMO) generated by high levels of social media use can lead to depression and anxiety.
The finding is one of a number documented in the fifth annual National Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey, which has documented the impact of social media use on wellbeing for the first time the last year.
‘It is up to parents and policymakers to make sure teenagers are getting enough information about what is and is not "real" in cyber space, as well as methods to cope with the social and emotional pressures of social media.’
The report from the Australian Psychology Society (APS) also said close to 60 percent of teens have trouble sleeping or relaxing after accessing social media sites and a similar number feel burnt out by constant connectivity.
Other key findings included teens worrying about friends having fun without them and feeling anxious if they did not know what their friends were doing.
Flinders University senior social work lecturer Dr Mubarak Rahamathulla said FOMO was opening the door to more concerning feelings, like anxiety and depression. "FOMO is a real thing my research and research all over the world is repeatedly indicating that it is a fact," he said.
Those who reported extremely severe levels of anxiety, distress and depression used addictive behaviors such as drinking, smoking, taking drugs and gambling to relieve stress at much higher rates than others.
Since 2011, the most common way of relieving stress was watching TV or movies although friends and family were said to be the most effective in helping people manage their anxiety.