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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

This article from WIRED magazine asks us to think about how FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)  of breaking news impacts on our lives.  

With recent tragic events, weather related disasters and "notable people" posting on social media, do you find yourself revisiting your social media and news platforms again and again for newer and more information?

We often talk with our clients about taking breaks from technology, and from social media especially for those who are prone to feelings of depression and anxiety after seeing others highly curated lives.   Being inundated 24/7 with details of difficult things that are happening can take their toll as well. The article cites that 43% of smart phones users check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up.  How does that impact their tone for the day?

This article explores some research that suggests that " research has shown that people who actively engage more with social media—by tweeting in response to news, commenting on stories, posting messages, joining online groups—tend to be slightly happier than those who do not"

The authors of the research suggest that social media users read a complete post and engage with it somehow by posting, retweeting or commenting on the post.  They see that this way it slows peoples scroll, and forces them to think critically about what they are seeing or reading.  From there, they can more specifically curate their feeds by only following those that inspire or have subject matter that matters to the viewer.  

This could be a harm reduction approach for those who have social media FOMO, or who tend to get stuck in a  loop of finding out more information about distressing news stories.  

Could this also be helpful to thsoe who follow their favourite gamers or games online?  

I can see how stopping to engage in a post would cetainly highlight whats really important or moving to someone, and, will it reduce or prevent those feelings from happening?

What do you think?



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Really interesting article and perspective, thanks for sharing Beth!

It's interesting that people who comment etc. are happier than those who don't, because I have seen lots of fights  happen as a result of comments on controversial news articles. Although perhaps people who comment and get engaged in discussions, either positive or negative, at least have an outlet for their thoughts, as opposed to reading story after story without the chance to talk about it. This definitely makes me want to comment more on the stories I read that matter to me, to see if it makes a difference in my own happiness!

I was a bit taken back as well Rebecca, given the amlount of trolling that people do.

I have never commented on an online story before, preferring to talk about what I have read in person, with family and friends.  i have though, in my life a few people who have engaged in "twitter wars" with others over heated topics.  There was most definitely an energy that came from that.  Can't say that they were happier though....


Keep us posted about your commenting!

Thanks for sharing this, Beth. This is a really interesting perspective and one that could play a role in harm reduction, as you mentioned. I think more research is needed to understand the interplay between social media and mental health. I came across a news article entitled "Does social media actually decrease anxiety?" that was recently featured in the Globe and Mail and discusses some of the different findings in the research about whether social media decreases or increases anxiety, depression or loneliness. The results are mixed, which may be due to differences in how we define social media use and its impacts, as well as the contributing social and environment factors.   

What do others find in their practice or at home? Do you think social media increases FOMO or anxiety?

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