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This study attempts to identify how attachment to social media as well as attachment to other forms of communication technology can lead to addiction to mobile devices and affect non-virtual interpersonal communication. I examined the phenomenon known as the fear of missing out, or FOMO, which can be defined as apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent. Experiencing FOMO can lead to overuse of and even addiction to social media, another category I examined, because addicted individuals want to stay more up-to-date with social networks and social media is the most efficient way to do so. This, by default, also connects to overuse of mobile devices due to ease of access with mobile social networking applications. This addiction is linked to loneliness and depression in and of itself, but the general overuse of mobile devices also has negative effects on interpersonal face-to-face communication, the final category that I researched. Numerous studies showed that the use or even mere presence of a mobile phone decreased interpersonal trust in conversation partners. Therefore it can be inferred that excessive social media use can lead to loss of non-virtual connections. Further research into the psychological impact of virtual communication addiction is needed to explore these incredibly new phenomena and help to prevent addiction and negative associations with new technologies.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)



communication, technology, mobile, addiction, FOMO, fear of missing out, virtual, phone, smartphone, social media, social network


Other Psychology | Social Psychology | Social Psychology and Interaction

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Faye O. Prichard


© The Author(s)

Can You Please Put Your Phone Away? Examining how the FOMO phenomenon and mobile phone addiction affect human relationships