Fear of Missing Out and Nomophobia

The more people share their lives on their online profiles, the more they are at risk of being afraid of missing updates and feeling the urge to check their profiles for feedback (16, 83). This specific phenomenon has been labeled “fear of missing out” (FoMO), defining the pervasive anxiety experienced by a user when thinking that other people might be enjoying gratifying experiences in their physical absence, pushing him/her to be connected constantly to check upon updates about these experiences, hence fostering the addictive behavior circuit (16, 84–86). FoMO has been shown to be associated with the severity of Facebook usage through a process that is likely to be activated by users as a way to temporarily compensate or regulate negative affect and anxious manifestations (87). Specific social needs may underlie FoMO and reasons for social media usage, like the desire to be popular, or at least not unpopular in the eyes of peers and the need for social affiliation, especially during adolescence when peers acquire greater value compared to the family (88). To this purpose, online interaction can represent a constantly available means of gratification but, at the same time, an attractive risk as it might trigger addictive behaviors and aggravate symptoms of anxiety. This combination of behavioral and cognitive patterns, in the context of social media usage, appears to be mediated by nomophobia, which is described as the fear of not being able to use the mobile phone. Evidence in literature reports a direct association among levels of anxiety, addictive behavior toward social media (41) and nomophobia, with a negative impact on academic performances.

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