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Psychology and Psychotherapy: Research Studys

FOMO-Fueled Instagram Addiction in Adolescents of Jakarta: An Exploration of the Fear of Missing Out Phenomenon

Gumelar G* and Maulana H

Department of Psychology, Universitas Negeri Jakarta, Indonesia

*Corresponding author: Gumelar G, Department of Psychology, Universitas Negeri Jakarta, Indonesia

Submission: January 18, 2023Published: March 2, 2023

DOI: 10.31031/PPRS.2023.06.000640

ISSN 2639-0612
Volume6 Issue3


Instagram, as a social media platform, has been associated with increased levels of FOMO due to its emphasis on sharing personal experiences and achievements. Additionally, research shows that FOMO can lead to excessive engagement with Instagram, including constantly checking for updates, obsessively scrolling through feeds, and feeling anxious or irritable when unable to access the platform. This excessive use can lead to negative consequences such as decreased productivity, poor sleep quality, and difficulty forming and maintaining relationships. This study examines the relationship between Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and Instagram addiction in adolescents in Jakarta. Using quantitative research methods, the study surveyed 211 adolescents aged 11-24 using the Fear of Missing Out Scale (FOMOS) and the Social Media Addiction Scale-Student Form (SMAS-SF). Results indicate a significant positive correlation between FOMO and Instagram addiction, with 29.2% of addiction being influenced by FOMO. Overall, the correlation between FOMO and Instagram addiction highlights the potential negative impacts of social media on mental well-being. It is important for individuals to be aware of their own levels of FOMO and to take steps to manage it, such as setting limits on social media use or engaging in activities that reduce feelings of insecurity and anxiety.

Keywords:Fear of missing out; Social media instagram addiction; Adolescents


Social media plays a significant role in shaping our daily habits as it consumes a significant portion of our time [1]. The plethora of features such as the ability to post photos and videos, share stories, utilize filters, participate in group chats, make video calls, engage in live streaming and more, makes social media users constantly want to showcase their daily activities. The primary aim of social media platforms is to provide a leisure activity for individuals who wish to share their experiences, goods, places or activities through photos or videos, connect with others, and stay informed about current events. One such widely used social media platform is Instagram. Users can share photos and short videos with the expectation of receiving likes, comments, attention and even praise from their followers [2]. Instagram also offers features such as Insta story with various camera filters, Instagram Live, direct messaging and video chat, making it easy for users to stay updated on the activities of others. The extensive features available on Instagram make it a comprehensive social media platform in comparison to other platforms.

Adolescents have a need for positive relationships with their peers during their development. According to a 2017 survey by the Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APJII), 143.26 million out of a total of 262 million Indonesians have internet access, with 49.52% of those users being young people or teenagers [3]. Furthermore, Hootsuite’s Wear social research, released in January 2019, found that 150 million Indonesians, or 56% of the total population, use social media, with the majority being teenagers. Social media has become an integral part of teenage culture and many adolescents do not want to be seen as outdated by not having social media accounts [4]. One reason for this is that students, who make up the majority of social media users, were born and raised during the rapidly developing digital era, making acceptance and literacy of social media easier for them than for other age groups.

While social media can have positive effects on adolescents, such as providing a means for learning, acquiring information, and communication, it can also have negative psychological impacts, particularly in the form of problematic behavior patterns, such as excessive use Boer et al. [5]. This is because at that age, adolescents have limited experience and self-regulation abilities [6]. Consequently, excessive use of social media platforms such as Instagram can lead to dependency or addiction. According to Dr. Suzy Yusna Dewi, a child and adolescent psychiatrist from Soeharto Heerdjan Hospital, dependence or addiction is often characterized by a tendency to withdraw from the social environment in order to engage in preferred activities. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1994), there are seven symptoms of media dependence, they are: use of larger amounts over a long period of time, spending significant time on activities, tolerance (increased need to achieve desired effect), reduced time spent socially, work, or recreationally, withdrawal, continuing to use despite knowing that it is causing problems, and a desire to cut back.

McLuhan proposed the idea that media is not just a tool for conveying information, but also has the power and influence to shape individuals and society as a whole [7]. Therefore, society cannot escape the influence of technology and media. McLuhan believed that individuals who spend a significant amount of time on Instagram may potentially develop a dependence on the platform. Addictive behavior towards social media is classified as one type of internet addiction, specifically cyber-relationship addiction, as the main purpose and motivation for using social media is to build and maintain relationships, both online and offline [8]. Social media is a medium on the internet that allows users to represent themselves and interact, collaborate, share and communicate with other users to form virtual social connections. However, this can lead to anxiety when individuals see all the fun their friends are having on social media [9] and may find it difficult to stop monitoring other people’s activities on social media. There are many reasons why adolescents may become addicted to social media, such as social media being perceived as a means for self-expression and exploration, the ability to see other people such as public figures as role models, the millennial generation being accustomed and dependent on technology, and fear of missing out. One of the previously mentioned reasons for social media addiction is Fear of Missing Out.

The phenomenon of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is closely related to social media addiction. The connection between FOMO and social media addiction can be seen in the role of social media in individuals who experience FOMO. The need and drive to maintain communication that arises from FOMO can be fulfilled through social media Abel et al. [10]. The constant availability of information on social media allows individuals to know what events others are participating in, which can lead individuals who experience FOMO to develop social media addiction Abel et al. [10]. The relationship between FOMO and social media addiction is closely tied to the intensity of social media use or engagement Przybylski et al. [11]. This suggests that the presence of FOMO leads to high intensity of social media use, indicating addictive behavior or addiction to social media.

Przybylski et al. [11] argue that Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a situational state that arises when basic psychological needs for self and relatedness are not fulfilled. When the need for relatedness is not met, individuals may feel anxious and seek to find out about the experiences and actions of others, often through social media. Similarly, if the psychological need for self is not fulfilled, individuals may use social media to obtain various types of information and connect with others, leading to an ongoing desire to find out what is happening to others through social media. Furthermore, the abundance of features offered by social media platforms such as Instagram can lead individuals to spend a significant amount of time using them. The increase in time spent using the internet and discomfort when unable to access social media are signs of social media addiction or addiction.

Przybylski et al. [11] suggest that Factors that contribute to an individual experiencing FOMO include unmet psychological needs for relatedness and self. Relatedness refers to an individual’s need to feel a sense of belonging, connection, and togetherness with others. Psychological needs for self are related to competence and autonomy. Competence is defined as an individual’s desire to feel effective in interacting with their environment, which reflects the need to develop skills and seek optimal challenges. Autonomy means that an individual is free to integrate their actions with themselves without being bound or controlled by others (the individual is the initiator and source of their behavior). Due to the need for relatedness and self among individuals, particularly adolescents who require good relationships with their peers, individuals will channel these needs through social media in order to obtain various types of information and connect with others.

This will cause individuals to constantly strive to find out what others are doing through social media, especially since Instagram has various features that are very supportive in helping individuals to find the updated information they need. Based on the above explanation, it can be concluded that Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) influences adolescents to become addicted to the internet/social media. Unmet psychological needs for relatedness and self are important aspects in FOMO, which has an impact on individuals, particularly adolescents, to continue using the internet so that they feel their psychological needs have been met. This indicates an increase in the amount of time spent using the internet and feelings of discomfort when unable to access the internet/social media. FOMO and social media addiction have a significant impact on adolescents, as one of the tasks of development during adolescence is for individuals to conduct exploration and experimentation, which in today’s modern era can be fulfilled through the internet. This research focuses on the possibility of the influence of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) on Instagram social media addiction among adolescents.


This study utilizes a Likert scale with five alternative choices for both instruments, the Fear of Missing Out Scale developed by Przybylski et al [11] and the Social Media Addiction Scale developed by Cengiz Sahin [12]. The level of Fear of Missing Out is measured through the dimensions of fear of missing out on experiences and the desire for connection. The Social Media Addiction Scale measures Virtual Tolerance, Virtual Communication, Virtual Problems and Virtual Information. The sample in this study consisted of 211 participants who were selected using purposive sampling technique. The researcher controlled the criteria that the respondents had to meet in order to be able to fill out the questionnaire, which was distributed through Google Form.

Result and Discussion

Based on the results of the hypothesis test previously conducted, it was found that the p-value for the fear of missing out variable is 0.000 (p<0.05) and the calculated F value is 86.006, therefore the calculated F value is greater than the F table value (F table=3.89). This indicates that the fear of missing out variable has an effect on the social media addiction variable (Table 1 & 2). The regression coefficient for the fear of missing out variable is positive and equals 1.098. This value shows that fear of missing out is a positive predictor for social media addiction. The results of the hypothesis test also indicate that there is a relationship between the two variables. Fear of missing out can also be considered as one of the factors that can increase social media addiction among adolescents in Jakarta. The results of this study have shown that fear of missing out contributes to 29.2% of Instagram social media addiction. With this, the fear of missing out variable has a significant effect on Instagram social media addiction. If adolescents can control their feelings of fear of missing out, it will also have a reducing effect on their social media addiction.

Table 1:Regresi hypothesis test.

Table 2:Model summary fear of missing out.

A person who experiences fear of missing out is due to unfulfilled basic psychological needs. After experiencing a level of fear of missing out, they will then enter a stage where they will increase their use of social media, leading. Adolescents are a transitional phase from childhood to adulthood, which certainly has negative aspects. One of them is that adolescents will be anti-life but will still feel anxious and afraid when they miss new information. This is in line with the opinion of Santrock et al. [13], who stated that adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, involving cognitive and social-emotional changes. One of the emotional conditions in adolescents is anxiety or fear. An adolescent who feels anxious and afraid of missing out on the latest information will often access social media, leading to social media addiction among adolescents Oberst et al. [14]. This is because adolescents do not trust themselves to express their lives in the real world. Social media dependence in adolescents can refer to compulsive behavior that leads to negative effects. Based on the score categorization, when compared to the description of respondents based on gender, it was found that the highest contribution of fear of missing out score was in the female gender with the category of moderate fear of missing out with a total of 118 people. Then the highest contribution of social media addiction score based on gender was in the female gender, specifically in the moderate category of social media addiction with a total of 129 people [15]. This shows that among female respondents, most have a moderate level of fear of missing out. This has an effect on their moderate level of Instagram social media addiction.

The study has shown that Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can affect social media addiction among adolescents. This is consistent with previous research (Putri & Halimah, 2019) which found that individuals with a tendency for FOMO tend to check social media more frequently, leading to direct involvement in internet relationships. One limitation of this study is the sampling technique used, as purposive sampling was employed, the results may not be representative of the population. Additionally, the instrument used in this study is relatively new and has not been widely used in previous research in Indonesia, thus, future research should consider using a more established instrument. Furthermore, the subjects of this study were limited to adolescents in Jakarta, making it difficult to generalize the findings to all adolescents in Indonesia.


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