Our Parents Were the Original FOMO Generation: That’s Why We Have It

A weird thing happened in between the time that my sister was born and I was born. She entered the world in 1982, went to school, participated in school plays, had fun moments, etc. But there is very little video of anything that my sister did before the age of 11 years old. Photos though: there are tons of. Five years later, I came into the world in 1987. With me, it was a different story.

My parents recorded so many moments of mine from when I was three years old and on. Playing in the snow, me talking about my drawings, school plays, etc. With my mother’s passing earlier this year, and trends from the 90s coming back like there’s no tomorrow, it made me realize something. We’re not the FOMO generation.


You know the term: FOMO = fear of missing out. We record everything and share everything and because of that we don’t want to miss out on moments in our lives, but neither did my grandparents, my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, etc. Most of my extended family lived in Canada growing up, while we made Queens, NY our home. So when relatives would visit, our parents treated them to those embarrassing videos of us from when we were younger. Like clockwork, I’d scurry upstairs and away from everyone else in complete shyness.

But this didn’t only happen with my parents. Lots of millennials had parents that did the same thing. In fact, sometimes they spent more time recording stuff than actually being in the moments themselves. Sometimes they’d be that parent who planted a tripod down with a camcorder and recorded the entire thing.

Our parents were the original FOMO generation. They were the ones walking around with camcorders, disposable cameras, film, VHS tapes, etc capturing loads of moments everyday because we brought a lot of joy to their lives. And now that we’re adults, they tend to reminisce on the moments when we were younger that still make us blush. As time went on and we became older, we too started to capture the world around us. Then capturing it went from using a point and shoot to just using our phone and sharing it to the web immediately.

Panasonic HX-A500 4K wearable camcorder

Then we moved on; and we still continue to today.

The inherent difference here is that our parents captured these moments for us to truly remember later on in life. But generally speaking, we don’t. I rarely ever care about photos of me from college, despite the fact that I was one of the first generations of people to use Facebook. It’s so incredibly common for us to record a moment on Instagram or Snapchat these days and be completely fine with it disappearing in 24 hours. Instead, we capture moments mostly to just show the world that we’re cool–and doing stuff. Some of these moments we may keep and remember for the rest of our lives. Well, I hope that some of these moments we’ll genuinely care about later on.

We as people and our generation share so often in a complete parallel to what our parents did. Somehow or another, it’s also just understood that you immediately give consent to someone to share and post a moment you’re all going through at the time. Thanksgiving Dinner? Friendsgiving dinner when you’re not the host? Yup, you’re going to be on someone’s camera even if you don’t consent.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer VSCO on the iPhone new screen (1 of 1)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

But go out into public and snap a picture and somehow or another it’s just not okay. Why? It’s a stark contrast of everything that we as a FOMO generation truly believe in. If capturing every moment in life is so incredibly important to us, why does it matter that these moments will disappear or be completely forgotten about and most likely not reviewed later on?

More importantly: why can’t we enhance those moments even more by capturing less and just being part of the moments?

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.