FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It's a real thing.

I know I sometimes sound harsh when I recommend to parents that they resist their kids' pleas for smartphones. We would all do well to be sympathetic to the dilemma facing kids.

So much communication among teenagers now occurs online and through social media apps that if a teenager says that if they have no smartphone they will have no social life, they aren't lying. It certainly is likely to feel that way to them.

If your kid IS one of the last to get a smartphone, he or she may tell you that there are all kinds of conversations going on that they feel left out of. They do feel like they are missing out. They are missing out. That's FOMO: the Fear Of Missing Out.

I do think it is fair for parents to factor these social pressures into their decision about when to allow their kids to be able to participate in social media.

It may turn out that decisions about when to allow our kids to do this or that on social media, to have a smartphone at this or that age or not, are not as critical as how we are to teach them, guide them, monitor them, and hold them accountable for how they use these devices.