My husband thinks I post too many pictures of our kids on Instagram and Facebook. He says they’re constantly posing for pictures and checking Likes. But I’m a social media junkie and love sharing what we’re doing!
There is a hilarious YouTube video called The Girl Who Went Out & Didn’t Post A Picture. The humorous ‘interview’ features two friends struggling to come to terms with another friend’s failure to post pictures of their most recent night at a club.
“I thought we were friends but… it was an entire night out, and she didn’t post one picture!”
Her friend tearfully adds, “Not one!…”.
One of the girls goes on to say, “I was, like, thinking about how much fun it looked like we were having… I got 53 likes on the picture I posted.”
“Mine had 64. And imagine how many she could have had!”
The young woman at the centre of this controversy – the ‘non-poster’ – explains that she was just enjoying herself and didn’t feel the need to post pictures of what was going on. “I mean it was the same thing we do every Friday night. Same club, same friends, same pose. I feel like I already have 10 pictures like that on Instagram.”
If it isn’t documented, is it even special?
The video may be a spoof, but it points to something that is becoming all too true: People’s tendency to behave as though if an experience isn’t documented, it isn’t special.
I understand the temptation to share pictures of your family; we all have a natural pride in our loved ones and an eagerness to show the world how cute/ smart/ talented our kids are! And, sharing travel photos certainly isn’t new; in the ‘olden days’ people subjected their nearest and dearest to whole evenings watching vacation slides – to the point of taxing the patience of even their most enthusiastic loved ones.
Encouraging our children to ‘pose and post’ may fuel their belief that if they are to ‘matter’, they must have the approval of others
But as parents, we run the risk of teaching our children that Likes and Impressions are valid indications of how interesting their lives are… which is not true. It is vital that we help our children understand that they can enjoy an experience without making sure the world knows they were enjoying it.
As for tweens and teens, already insecure about their social status, encouraging our children to pose and post may fuel their belief that if they are to ‘matter’, they must have the approval of others. While that may not be your intention, children learn far more from what we do than from what we say.
These days, a growing number of people are choosing to make changes in their social media habits: living their lives with less documentation – or none at all. Many are finding that without the constant presence of a smart phone camera, they feel more at ease and able to enjoy the moment. (In the aforementioned video, one of the troubled young women whines, “She kept saying, ‘In the moment’. What is that? A moment is defined by its documentation!”
Try this experiment: Leave your digital devices alone the next time you’re out with your family and watch what happens. At first, you may notice your kids posturing and posing in the hope that you’ll pull out your smartphone camera to record their adorableness. But if you stay the course, you’ll probably find that a level of un-self-consciousness takes over that is much harder to achieve when people know that at any moment they might be photographed.
Enjoy posting if you wish, but scale it back so that instead of interrupting family together-time for a pose and post, you simply enjoy the moment. Whatever it is… without the documentation.