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If we learned anything from ex-Instagram model Essena O’Neill’s meta-announcement that “social media is not real life“, hopefully it was that media literacy is an essential skill that many people are still a bit crap at. Given we’re in an information age where we consume about 174 newspapers worth of knowledge daily, we’d benefit from getting good at effective digestion.

In the wake of commentary and criticism on Essena’s mental health and ‘real’ motives, last week the Australian Psychological Society (APS) released results from their 2015 Stress and Wellbeing Survey. For the first time, these included an analysis of Australians’ use of social media and experience of the fear of missing out, or FoMO: the nagging worry that there’s good stuff happening you’re not included in. Yes, it’s actually a thing, but how much of a thing and should we really be concerned?

The 44-page report tracks how Australians have experienced stress (mostly financial, health and family) and what we’ve done to cope with it (sometimes things that are incongruent to wellbeing), sampling about 1500 people representative of the population over the past five years.

As expected, some media outlets rolled with the tech-fear and moral panic that seems to go with the territory on reporting Generation Screenager, with headlines like ‘FOMO Sending Teens Loco’ and this corker shrieking alarming trends (read: wrongly inferred associations) about social media ‘addiction’ (that word doesn’t even appear in the report), and the threats it apparently poses to life as we know it.


– Jocelyn Brewer

Source: Could We Please Stop The Moral Panic Over Social Media ‘Addiction’? | Junkee