No one wants to feel left out. To avoid that, preschools and elementary schools encourage, and some require, that all students in a class be invited to birthday parties. But how long do we perpetuate the idea that everyone is friends with everyone? Unfortunately, our children are not going to be invited to every single party in the course of their life time, and they need to learn to deal with the reality.
Last week, the Huffington Post ran a blog by Grown and Flown in which a mother says she wishes she had given her sons more directives on their use of social media. She included this advice on not posting pictures on Facebook:
"Facebook can be a powerful force for hurting feelings. When my kids were small, we invited every kid in their class to their birthday parties. No one should feel left out. Not getting an invitation is nothing compared to seeing twenty photos of the party you missed. I should have told my children to think of others feelings when they posted images and news. It doesn't matter if every other kid at the event posted photos, if it is going to hurt feelings, don't."
I think that everyone, regardless of age, should be careful when posting pictures on Facebook. I also fully agree that people should be considerate of others when deciding what and how to post on social media. I'm not certain, however, that not posting pictures of a party to protect the feelings of the uninvited is reasonable. And if it makes sense for younger kids, at what point is it okay to share photos from parties?
Everyone feels left out at some point in life. That's sad, but it's true. And I think if that happens to someone for the first time as an adult, that's particularly rough.
A parent's job is to help his/her child deal with the disappointment and sad feelings that inevitable come as a part of life.
The statement about the pictures jumped out at me because just the day before, I had spoken with a friend who mentioned that her feelings were hurt when she saw Facebook photos of event her friends attended. She had not been included in that event. She said seeing those photos hurt. I have experienced similar scenarios. It is a fact of life that you cannot be invited to every single party every single time. Even if you are, it will not be possible to attend all the social gatherings to which you have been invited. Does that mean that no pictures or details of those events should be shared? I say no.
Last year, a friend asked about carpooling to a birthday party. My daughter was not invited. There was a bit of drama with the birthday girl telling my daughter at school that she was invited but the evite never arrived. Yes, she was disappointed. Yes, she handled it. The world went on spinning. I'd like to think that she learned to handle disappointment, and developed a little resilience.
People should be able to share their fun via social media as long as they do it in a considerate, responsible way.
While I think that's probably what the author meant, her sweeping comments implied that sharing photos of any party is wrong. I think considerate responsible sharing is okay, and that applies to social media as well as in real life. My daughter has a few pictures of her at birthday parties on her bulletin board in her room. If a new friend comes over, do we need to take those photos down? I don't think so.
Reasons to refrain from sharing photos from parties are many, including privacy, control over that image now and in the future, and that it is part of your permanent digital footprint. How others will perceive that picture, and how that picture will make others feel is a part of that consideration. But it is not the only reason to not post a photo.
If your children's feelings will be very hurt and/or seeing pictures of others at parties will negatively impact them, they do not belong on Facebook.
I know that many people have kids under age 13 with Facebook or Instagram accounts, even though Facebook's rules say kids should be 13 or older. Part of the purpose of Facebook and social media is to keep in touch with friends and to know what they are up to when you are not with them. That may lead to hurt feelings, and if you or your kid don't want to deal with that, stay off social media.
Do you agree? Should people not post photos on social media from parties that not everyone is invited to? Tell us how you feel in the comments!