"The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World"

Mar 31, 2015

Why are we so addicted to our cell phones, our Facebook pages, our email In Boxes, and so forth? Some say it's a culture-wide (and incurable?) case of "FOMO" -- or, fear of missing out. On this installment of ST, we explore that fear by speaking with Christina Crook, a Canadian journalist. Back in 2012, Crook disabled the data on her smartphone, turned off her email, and entirely avoided the Internet for 31 days. That experience is chronicled in her new book, "The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World," which she discusses with us today. As was noted of this book by TreeHugger.com: "Written as a sort of meditative guidebook, complete with Chapter Challenge questions at the end of each section designed to encourage self-examination and critical thought, 'The Joy of Missing Out' is chock-full of interesting (and alarming) research, critiques of digital assumptions, revealing insights, and inspiring quotes.... Each chapter explores a different way in which we use technology -- and it, in turn, uses us. From the need to regain lost time in our over-scheduled lives and the necessity of quitting the comparison game triggered by Facebook, to the innate human desire for companionship and intimacy, [this book] encourages readers to let go of digital addictions and learn to balance what's necessary with what's important.... The most moving chapter for me was the section on childhood, and the disturbing reminder that we, parents of the next generation, are the custodians of a pre-smartphone past. Our children will never know a world without the Internet in everyone's pocket, which makes it all the more important to establish and maintain healthy screen habits."