Societal acceptance, smartphones and the fear of missing out

I was at lunch with my colleagues last week and I heard one or two of them say something along the lines of wanting a car that automatically breaks when you are under a certain speed. Nothing wrong with that so far, right? Well, the reason behind this baffled me. They said they wanted the car to be like this so that they can check their phones for news and emails while driving, because if the car breaks for itself, they can check their phones while also being safe in traffic…well, not really safe but safer.

I wanted ro rage at them so badly, but I calmed myself down. However, I couldn’t help but think about WHY people do this (the checking of mobile phones while driving). And in my opinion, at the very core of it, it has something to do with societal acceptance and the fear of missing out. According to Wikipedia, the fear of missing out syndrome (or FOMO, in short) is a syndrome characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. Others of course can have many meanings, be it other colleagues, other friends or other politicians for people who can’t escape this obsession and constantly try to drag me into it.

Some of you may be thinking: “ok, I get the FOMO part, but what about societal acceptance?”. Well…when you’re constantly in the need of staying up to date with the latest developments in every freaking country around Mother Earth, I think you’re doing it for one of two reasons:

  1. You really have nothing better to do with your life than to be ultra connected to each and every event around the planet thinking it affects you that much
  2. You don’t want to look like an idiot in front of your colleagues because you don’t know the latest developments, either around the world or in the company you’re working for

To be fair, reason number 2 seems more likely in today’s social-media obsessed society. The constant need to check up on the latest events or latest updates from your friends or your company is not something to take lightly. Seriously, for your sake AND the sake of others…DO NOT CHECK YOUR F***ING MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING!

I myself don’t really care about world events that much, I think I have stated that numerous times to the point where you might be annoyed, but it bears repeating, because I am tired of the current trend of being constantly connected and “informed” (whatever that means). And by tired I actually mean tired, the human brain can only take so much information before it goes into overdrive, hence why I’ve given up on watching news or reading articles about events that don’t affect me the same way people around me seem to think it may affect them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against smartphones or other devices that allow you to access the web at any given time but once again, for your sake AND the sake of others…DO NOT CHECK YOUR F***ING MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING! See, being a complete idiot is not that hard, is it? You may think you’re missing out, but you’re not. The task in the e-mail your boss sent you will still be there when you reach your desk. The latest news about elections or votes in whatever country happens to be hosting them will still not affect you more if you read the articles half a second after they’re posted. So, once more with feeling, for your sake AND the sake of others…DO NOT CHECK YOUR F***ING MOBILE PHONE WHILE DRIVING!


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