Even those of you without school-aged children will notice by the traffic that school's back today.

You perhaps won't have the same joyful exhale as parents who've endured the school holiday juggle of bored kids and endless demands for activities and food, but I am noticing something different with holidays these days.

The FOMO factor.


Kids these days are growing up in the age of comparison, surrounded by the very real fear of missing out.

I remember my school holidays - I didn't see what anyone else was doing, we didn't have social media or any kind of comparison other than you may have received a short phone call from a friend's bach if they'd been allowed to make a toll call to say hi.

You certainly didn't get montages of what they'd had for breakfast and how many people were on the beach.

But our kids are growing up with access, comparison and intricate details posted piece by piece every 10 minutes of what everyone is doing.

Every meal, every smoothie, every swim, every excursion, all documented, curated and filtered, then splashed on social media so that life looks like one big party.

I saw several groups of kids these holidays, who for all intents and purposes, were having a great time - until they saw what everyone else was doing.

I know kids who thought staying home for the holidays would be OK, until they saw others away at their bach, or kids who thought going away would be awesome until they saw their mates back home all hanging together having fun without them.

Kids who thought they'd had a good day, but then turned their phone on and saw Instagram and suddenly felt it wasn't that great after all. Just because of a comparison, an image or snapshot that made them feel bad about themselves and what they were doing.


Social media is good for many things, but the irony here is it was actually created to connect communities.

What it seems to do a lot now though, is disconnect them - by causing anxiety among kids who feel they're missing out, or that their life isn't good enough.

With all the focus and attention on mental health this past week it's a good reminder to monitor how much of these social media feeds, are actually serving our kids well. And not just our kids, but ourselves as well.

It is a feed after all, we should adjust our diets accordingly.