"Over the years our society has put “guardrails” in place for other addictive habits like smoking at airports or drinking in restaurants. Let me offer a beginning to the same conversation on social media with your students or kids at home. What if you talked about this research, then established “guardrails” to ensure we all remain on the road, without veering off a cliff and damaging our lives:
1. Establish clear boundaries.
Why not construct mutual boundaries that both adults and students must maintain? It could be a boundary on hours spent on social media or where it’s OK to use it. Just like we have times and places for smoking in airports.
2. Think substitutes.
Why not create a list of items that could be used as a substitute for social media? Smokers often chew gum—why not substitute reading or board games for Instagram or Facebook? It will require creativity but it’s the best way to beat a habit.
3. Teach moderation.
When people reach adulthood, they’re allowed to legally drink. So we often say: “There’s nothing wrong with alcohol. The problem’s too much alcohol.” What if you established a limit on hours or locations for social media?
4. Equip them for face-to-face relationships.
Addictive habits can diminish essential skills we need. Dependence on one muscle can cause others to atrophy. What if we spent time on intentional training for interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence for our students on social media?"