CMS Wire: Mobile Phone Separation Anxiety Is Real and It’s Getting Worse (June 1, 2017)

 

By: David Lavenda

FOMO Means Never Having to Say ‘I’m Offline’

The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) of human motivation takes a different approach. SDT states that one’s ability to self-regulate behavior is based on the satisfaction of three basic psychological needs:

  1. competence — a capacity to effectively act on the world,
  2. autonomy — self-authorship or personal initiative and
  3. relatedness — closeness or connectedness with others.

SDT focuses on another manifestation of being disconnected from our mobile devices — FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” This fear reveals itself through worries about being out of touch with events, experiences and conversations happening across our extended social circles. It fuels a compulsive desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.

According to SDT, FOMO is state of self-regulatory limbo arising from deficits in psychological need satisfactions. Specifically, individuals who are low in basic need satisfaction gravitate towards social media use because it is perceived as a resource to get in touch with others, a tool to develop social competence and an opportunity to deepen social ties.