How We Learnt FOMO:
Listen, I have nothing against technology. I can turn on and off the lights in my house from 200 miles away if I need to. During the pandemic, we bought a new car without ever stepping out of the house.
What’s more, I don’t have to wait for an entire week for my favorite Tom and Jerry show to watch a new episode. I can sit in my bed and binge eat and binge watch for hours on end. I get it.
But the point here is, we’re also engaging with the world in a way that has become detrimental to our wellbeing. Our tech use is leading to dysfunctional relationships at work and in our personal lives with friends and strangers. There’s something we have to do about it. Soon.
Here’s what Sean Parker, Meta’s First President, had said in a whistleblower wave that had swept up the Silicon Valley insiders to come out and speak against the companies that they were building.
“Facebook literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains. It’s a social-validation feedback loop… exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators … understood this consciously, and we did it anyway.”
Meta was initially our social internet, where were are doing some harmless snooping around our friends’ lives. We were showing off our cooking skills or our adventurous travel pictures.
Then came the algorithms that started distorting our reality. Next came the concept of FOMO, fear of missing out. 7 out of 10 people feel the need to be on some form of social media, because of FOMO. The fear of missing out because you’re not connected to your peer group is difficult. The choice can leave one feeling isolated.
Imagine the number of Meta invites, garage sales and school closure information you missing out on – can be one’s validation to hang onto their online community. People report even having biological responses for fear of social anxiety.
A Cruel Online World:
Touch and sensory exchange are necessary for emotional and social development. Understanding others through body language and subtle facial cues is only possible through one to one interaction. Skills like empathy and conflict resolutions can be learnt well only through physically engaging with others.
Relationship knowledge is mutual. Unlike knowing facts, there is a consequence for knowing the knowledge. It determines how we engage with others, and how we communicate and collaborate with the world around us.
But look how we express outrage or discontent online. Instead of sharing valuable messages that have the capacity to scale quickly, we are using the internet to create digital drama and engage in cyber bullying.
Cursing, using crude and sassy comments, making jokes about weight, sexual orientation and political party affiliations. Try doing that in real person and see what happens.
40% have experienced it and 73% have witnessed online harassment. You just have to look at the comments section of any article on any website to see the violent nature of the dark side of the internet. Trolls, cyber bullies abound – hiding behind fake screen names and masked IP addresses.
Doxxing is a very common way of taking revenge online on people or harm the safety of a stranger or celebrity. Spiteful people spy on your personal data and publish it to harm you and your family. Doxxing is to search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the internet, typically with malicious intent.
Phubbing is when people give their devices more company than their loved ones who’re sitting across them in the same room. People attend parties, so that they can feed their #hashtag addiction by posting pictures of the event on their social media statuses. See those duck faced aunties pouting for selfies while giving the chills to their teenage children?
Keyboard Activism And Outrage:
No one wants to dig deeper into any news. They look at things superficially and jump to conclusions. Most of us are just looking to be recreationally offended.
Gone are the days when movements and protests took weeks and months to organize. The means by which activists are making protests, petitions and persuasion tactics for change in mass mentality using online methods has risen to what’s being referred to as Keyboard activism. Like in traditional activism, unfortunately, most people engage in this form of activism if its easy (in this case, a click of button to spread the message), non-committal and comes at no particular personal cost.
Illegal Online Connections:
Groomers or perverts, through DMs, are encouraging children and teens to send them explicit content in the guise of mentoring. Watch the Documentary: Keep This Between Us
What: Teens share nude or semi-nude photos of themselves. Or forward compromising pictures of friends or others that they’ve received.
Stats: Around 15% of teens are sending sexts, nearly 27% of teens are receiving them. (Covenant Eyes Porn Stats, 2018)
Risks: Legal trouble
Online Predators / Sex Offenders:
What: While they’re seeking stimulation, strangers are seeking their attention. Kids are starving for attention and are befriending strangers on the internet.
Stats: 57% of teens have met a new friend online, and nearly 29% say they’ve made more than five friends in digital spaces (Lenhart, 2015)
Risks: Psychological, mental and physical assaults
Searching For Condos:
There are some games commonly referred to as “condos” and they are Roblox multiplayer sex games. These games are generated by users, where people talk about sex and where their avatars can engage in virtual sex. As expected, here’s where Roblox rules cease to apply.
All you have to do is search for “condo” in the search bar on the site and games that display explicit scenes, naked avatars and crude language in the chat transcripts can manifest.
There’s no need to panic, there are many places where you can find Parental controls on Roblox.
Love, Lust And The Gamified Experience:
Inside the Awkward World of Millennial Dating:
Here’s an excerpt from an article from Rolling Stone magazine:
“If you’re single, struggling to reconcile the distance that the Internet somehow both creates and closes between potential partners, how better to avoid the social awkwardness of face-to-face interactions and assuage the fear of rejection than by sliding into some hot girl’s DMs, comfortable in the illusion of a personal conversation without actually having one?
Perhaps young people are putting off sex in increasing numbers because they’re afraid that when the moment of intimacy actually arrives, they won’t know how to act. Not that the movements won’t come naturally, but that the accompanying emotional vulnerability we assume is supposed to exist will never arise afterward. Since 2008’s economic decline, Millennials have found that delaying most aspects of adulthood is in their best interest.
Goldman Sachs reported that so far in the 2010s, the median age for marriage is 30 – seven years later than in the 1970s. In 2012, a very meager 23 percent of 18- to 31-year-olds were married and living in their own households. For the first time in more than 130 years, adults aged 18 to 34 are more likely to live with their parents than with a partner.
Overall, Millennials are pushing back the age of adulthood, usually as a reaction to our environment – the difficult-to-crack job market, and the ever-rising cost of rent. Sex is just another step toward becoming an adult that Millennials are avoiding.”
~ Inside the Awkward World of Millennial Dating on Rolling Stone.
Today, an estimated 28% of all American homes are single-person households, according to a 2018 report from the US Census Bureau. Nearly 5% of the US population lives in retirement homes. More than 2 million Americans are incarcerated, according to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
We’re so overstimulated that being alone has become unbearable—a fact that was highlighted in a series of studies from 2014, where people preferred giving themselves electric shocks rather than sitting still alone in a room for 6 to 15 minutes. In the lab, we shock ourselves; in real life, we reach for our phones in a lecture hall, in line—even when we’re driving.
~ Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters.
On the surface, your relationship might seem perfect: You go out, s/he texts you and you spend almost every weekend together. There’s just one problem: You haven’t met a single one of his/her friends or family members, and you aren’t sure whether they know of your existence.
Once upon a time, in a pandemic, there was an app called Clubhouse.
The optimal number of people within an ecosystem is 150 for participation. If Clubhouse doesn’t die completely, only time will tell how people will keep up by adding and subtracting from their networks. It can be a productivity hamper. The FOMO of not being able to participate and voice out our opinions and ideas can get to you. The craving for “claps” can get to you. There are pop up rooms and some other rooms that last longer than marriages.
“Simply put, benching is when you like someone enough to keep spending time with them but not enough to commit in any given way — situationships included. Instead, a bencher will keep you on your toes by arbitrarily asking you out when it’s convenient. Usually, when their plans fall through, they’re going through a personal crisis and need some buttering or the classic case of texting a cheeky “you up?” following FOMO on a Saturday night.”
SOURCE: Harpers Bazaar
This trend involves someone trying to ‘collect’ as many partners as possible. These are people who they they’re the best and can have anything and anyone they want.
Urban Dictionary says, Pokemoning (also spelled “Pokémoning”) is the act of dating multiple partners (or having multiple friends) in order to collect all the desired traits that’s very likely to not exist in one single individual. Named so because you “Gotta Catch ‘Em All.”
Dictionary says: To curve someone is “to reject” them, that is, veer away from their romantic interests and advances in an indirect, non-confrontational way. Cue, “Sorry I just saw this message.”
This happens when a person continues to interact with you on social media after you have stopped seeing each other. Haunting behaviors are often on the passive side (for example, liking your photo instead of commenting on it).
For those of us lucky enough to have them, freckles and their fickle nature are a familiar subject. Your skin might be clear as day from November through to March, but once you start spending more time in the sun, boom, a star map of little dots constellates across your face, only to fade when fall comes around.
The dating analog, of course, is the freckler — someone who dips into your life when the weather’s nice and then vanishes, vamoose, when the chill sets in.
Unlike a summer fling, a passion-filled romance with someone you just met that only lasts for the summer, if you’re getting freckled, it’s often at the hands of someone you already know — or know through friends, or friends of friends.
SOURCE: Ask Men
Ghosting is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Young people ghost each other these days after going on dates for a few times. They simply don’t have the people skills to face the other person to say, “Maybe this is not working out. Let’s not hang out anymore.”
Gamified Experience to Romance:
Dating apps alter our behaviors. They erode our self-esteem because of the rejection we experience. We are constantly second guessing ourselves to understand if we are making the right choice. Too many options erode our decision-making muscle.
Deception And Unethical Behaviors:
Superficial Social Capital:
Likes, comments, shares – This is the Attention Economy that we live in. Consequently, we are victims of the reinforcement paradigm. We are taking down pictures if they don’t get enough likes. Middle school kids post mostly after 5pm on Instagram, so they can get the most activity on their posts.
Creating a fictional character or false identity on a social networking site with the intention of preying on a specific victim is known as catfishing. The act may be carried out for monetary gain, to compromise the victim in some way, to purposefully anger the victim, or even for wish fulfillment.
Hotels, restaurants, books, movies – So many places you can champion the opinion on the internet. Ugh. Some books on Amazon.com have 3000 comments. Reddit is full of *$#$%*#$%#$%, that I know so many 20 year olds are spending their entire days reading and laughing across coffee shops all across the world. Who are these people who have the time to consume everything that’s on the internet??? Why are we creating so much content?? Who’s
having the last laugh?
When someone goes overboard with praises and accolades and then suddenly drops out of your life. It’s not someone being flattering; it’s someone faking being totally smitten when they aren’t.
Don’t forget the professional costs associated with our crazy behaviors online. People are becoming victims of their own stupid behavior online, because the internet has the memory of an elephant. Internet is filled with social media fails that have led to employees getting canned from companies. Don’t give yourself a chance to regret, “Not my proudest moment!”
Digging Out Of Tech Grave:
Think about this. Are we hyperconnected but lack in deep connections with even a few that we call close friends? Is there anyone among your online “friends” that you would like to spend more time with in person? Is social media making you more social or less?
Bottom line, it’s important to remember that the online world is not the only world our children and we need.
Relationships don’t have to be emotionally unavailable. Our conversations on social media can be creative and civil. We don’t have to be stuck in our own echo chambers of opinions and outrage. Remember this the algorithm wants you to be a asshole. But, you can allow not technology but your values to drive your behaviors.
Ask yourself often, is technology really empowering me or enslaving me? And, think of ways to get off the screen and onto the scene. After all, you can’t hug a close friend over the internet and won’t experience your first kiss over Snapchat.
We can begin with our physical world, where we learn how to read people and truly understand them. When we communicate face to face with others, the mirror neurons in our brains help us deal with the other person’s facial expressions and cues that their body is sending. As our brain interprets this data, our levels of dopamine rise when we hear something nice in what they’re relaying to us. We start forming connections and building social currency by being understanding and diplomatic about others emotions and feelings.
We learn to find common ground, create rapport and build social networks in real life. And it starts at the family dinner table where there’s no place for devices. Have memorable conversations in real life, and network well. Remember, a network is physical before its virtual and available online. Have memorable conversations in real life, and network well.
Invite a friend for coffee over sending an emoji. Let’s start with eye contact. It is our bridge to build trust with others.
* * *
About The Article Author:
I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté.
Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like.
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents
The Digital Literacy Project: Disrupting humanity’s technology addiction habits one truth at a time.
Truth About Technology – A Digital Literacy Project
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