From news first breaking online to the latest online challenges, the internet has made a big impact on people’s lives and the information they receive. Are people afraid of being offline in today’s world?
Depends on people
Each individual is susceptible to a different extent
Social media has obviously taken over the world. It has also taken over my life because I work in the field of social media. So yes, I have Fobo - fear of being offline. And I have the fear of being offline not only because I would miss out on work emails or personal messages but also because I wouldn’t know what’s happening on the social media pages I manage.
When I started out, it took a while to get used to. I wasn’t able to manage my time or expectations, and I didn’t realise the toll it was taking on me. It also didn’t help that I’m an anxious person to begin with. And it made me realise that I have to find the right work-life balance for me.
I don’t think Fobo is something age-related, rather related to how you balance your life. It also depends on whether individuals have pre-existing mental illnesses, making them more susceptible to Fobo. If that’s the case, seeking out help would be great as it can get really tough. There’s no shame in getting help and learning coping techniques.
From Ms Rujman Ishtiaq
Social media community manager based in Dubai
The fear is there but it can be more serious
I completely agree with the fact that youngsters suffer more from Fobo than old people since that demographic tends to be the one that is more likely to utilise social media platforms, and therefore would more likely to be afraid of not being well connected to their friends and loved ones.
There are specific exceptions to fears of being offline, such as not being afraid of missing out on action that is only found on a specific platform since the individual is not interested in that sort of content. I find myself to be leaning towards a minor fear of being offline since I would like to always be connected and up-to-date with what’s going on in the real world and amongst my close friends and loved ones.
It could be unhealthy if it turned to an addiction or obsession in which a person feels the urge to always be aware of what goes on in everyone’s lives.
Highly depends on the individual. Some people really care about social media, while others in the same demographic rarely or never use any form of social media platforms.
From Mr Ali Khalid
Fear of losing out
Being offline can be cause for anxiety
Being online has become a symbol of human existence. Amidst being available and using online platforms becoming an obligation more than a leisure activity, people of all ages are preyed upon by Fobo. The ultimate fear of being offline. However, youngsters do contribute more to the anxiety and constant pressure of perceiving to be online at all times. For example, having your ‘last seen’ on or having your read feature, ‘blue ticks’, activated on your WhatsApp assures friends, colleagues and family members of your availability. A reason for this could be the longer time spent by young people on social media platforms for communicating more than older people. I catch myself making replying to messages a priority.
Due to uncontrolled situational variables and individual variances there comes a time where if being offline is prolonged a person’s mind does psychologically become impaired due to the constant fright of losing out on trends or keeping up with the world; since to them the world has become nothing more than a virtual belonging.
From Ms Aymen Ali
Student based in Ajman
Have you ever gone on an ‘internet detox’?
Yes, need to disconnect: 60%
No, I fear missing out: 40%
Have your say
Would you be able to stop using all social media platforms?