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.
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.
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.