Not MOFO. Make sure you read that correctly.

FOMO is an acronym that means Fear Of Missing Out. It’s a real thing. Google it.

It describes a self-made technological addiction that is driven by an irrational fear of missing out on important events while disconnected from social media. The actual definition is “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

This blog post isn’t a FOMO remedy article or even a practical how-not-to on the subject. Instead, it’s a personal confession written to get us thinking and talking about the subject.

We are living our lives through the screens of our phones more now than ever. Doctors even have real terminology to describe new aches and pains associated with this tech addiction: “text neck” and “texting thumb.” The National Institute of Health recommends slow range of motion exercise or massage therapy to combat the pain.

Massage therapy. For looking at your phone screen for too long!

I’m not anti-technology or anti-social media by any means. In fact, I’m not always great at practicing what I’m preaching in this blog post. Sometimes I really struggle to put my phone down and engage my kids or my wife, especially when the wheels are turning in my head. Just one more email, update, news article…

My wife is better at this than I am. She often goes for large portions of the day without checking her phone. But I’m discovering that she’s better than me at most things, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at her superiority in this category as well.

The Millers do have a no-technology rule at the dinner table. No iPads, Kindles, phones, etc. Meal time is face time (not FaceTime). I never want to be the family we often see at restaurants sitting around the same table, out to eat with each other, not talking, staring at their phone screens.

(If you haven’t seen those people, you may need to look up from your phone screen.)

FOMO is driven by the nagging question, “What am I missing out on when I’m not on social media?”

I wonder how things might change if we asked a different question…

“What am I missing out on when I am on social media?”

Eye contact with my kids and wife…

Real-life relationships involving two-way vocal conversations…

My daughter’s gymnastics routine…

My son’s new stunt on his scooter…

When I think about it, those are the things I have a serious FOMO about. I have a healthy Fear Of Missing Out on the things that matter most. The things happening all around me. The things I sometimes stare at through my iPhone camera app instead of just using my eyes and brain to take it all in.

In the words of one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot,

“Life is short; I wanna live it well / One life, one story to tell.”

And I don’t want to just tell that story through Instagram.


Do you deal with FOMO?

What are some practical ways to remind ourselves to put down our phones and engage in real life?

How can we redeem our tech so it doesn’t take away from life, but adds to it?