Building Compassionate Social Media Habits—for You and Your Kids

How to approach doomscrolling, social media comparison, and addicting algorithms with mindfulness. Author and WholeSchool Mindfulness director Erica B. Marcus shares lessons she’s learned from teaching middle school and high school.

Adobe Stock/ Ico Maker

A few years back, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I came across an image of Miranda, my childhood best friend. She was on a beautiful white-sand tropical beach, tan and radiant, contorted into an incredible yoga pose. In contrast, I was sitting in my living room, pasty white and deeply bundled against the frigid Maine temps, nearly comatose from tech use. And I noticed something. As I stared at the pic, my throat clenched slightly. My shoulders rose up just a hair. And my stomach dropped. I had a wisp of a thought: Ugh. I wish that was me. This was followed by a cascade of reasons that I was better than her, in a desperate attempt to make myself feel better. 

What makes this moment notable, even though this yucky feeling had happened a bajillion times while looking at Insta, was a recognition of how that image impacted me. If I think about my technology consumption like a diet, what I just ate left me feeling bloated and heavy—perhaps the equivalent of eating an entire bag of Cheetos. In the past, I might have scrolled on for thirty minutes, continuing with my…