Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Matthew Davis, PhD

Second Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD


In the networks of student lives and the pervasive presence of social media in their lives, there is an increasingly important need to understand the dynamics that affect students’ well being and availability to being present with learning. This qualitative study sought to understand how FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), defined as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent” (Przybylski et. al, 2013, p. 1841), impacts students of color at one independent secondary school in Northern California and has been documented as having an impact on learning, health, and safety. The researcher conducted personal interviews with six students of color in grades seven and eight, under the design of a constructivist worldview. This research found that students had surprising grassroots systems of support largely disconnected from social media, and that when technology was involved, it was more often through real time gameplay as compared to social networking sites.

Implications of this study include schools and teachers taking the lead in implementing steps to foster community building and student belongingness, such as allowing time for students to talk and connect before classes, during class, and through a varied weekly schedule. Creating opportunities for small group interactions could include advisory groups as well as purposefully working to connect as a school community and within the surrounding community, perhaps through service and volunteer days. Additionally, schools can work alongside policy makers to enlist social media sites to fund research and inform users of signs and steps to take if experiencing extreme FOMO and social media use.

IRB Number