Listening to a radio program a few days ago, I heard the term - 'Fear of missing out' (FOMO) - and I found myself considering why this is becoming so much of a 'thing.' It's a bit like the old adage of 'Keeping up with the Jones's - a compulsion to consume in order to maintain a perceived idea of social status.
But what is so worrying about this trend is that it is showing itself in younger and younger children - often of pre-school age - and we are letting it happen.
While some of us seem to be content with what we have, there are growing numbers of people who insist on acquiring the best, the most or the latest of everything, and if they see someone with something new and different, they feel compelled to have it too.
Take, for example, our digital media devices. How many of us line up to buy the latest version of a phone when the one we have works fine? Each new model that emerges becomes the next 'must-have.'
Our children are asking for phones and tablets because all of their friends have one, and they are becoming a fashion item akin to the latest Disney character lunchbox or schoolbag.
Image courtesy of Flickr
Children learn from us and they are watching us become dependent on our digital devices. I know I'm guilty of taking my phone everywhere with me so I don't miss a call, but I know others who have to have it permanently in their hands as though it has become an addiction. Social media status seems to be the new measure of social acceptance.
But what would happen if we left our phone at home or in our bag for a day? Or if we made a promise to ourselves to only check social media twice a day? What if we could admire our friends newest acquisition without feeling the need to have one too?
I think it would be refreshing to start a whole new trend; a trend of not following trends. A trend of occasionally letting the band-wagon roll on by, without feeling the urge to jump on.