Sharon and Adam Blum of Far Rockaway NY decided not to post typical photos of both of their children standing in the doorway about to head to 4th and 6th grade. Their son Adam, who is in 6th grade and younger sister Jennifer (goes by Jenny) were pleased at the decision, but that hasn’t stopped neighbors from questioning whether Sharon and Adam are responsible parents. Neighbor, Karen Faustein was concerned. “I just feel like posting something like ‘First day of…’ whatever grade they are off to is sort of a must as a parent. I mean, how else are you supposed to get the ‘Too cute!’ or the ‘OMG can’t believe how big they are!’ comments?” When it was pointed out that a recent study by Rutgers University showed that 97.6% of comments in relating to children are simply copied and pasted with variations relating to cuteness of children, their growth, or time passing, Mrs. Faustein didn’t seem to care.

Other neighbors however had different perspectives and supported the Blum’s decision. Steven Green who lives across the street from the Blums was all for not posting the Facebook photo. “What? We don’t know what your kids look like? We don’t know it’s the first day of school? Kids grow up. It’s called nature. I don’t see any reason to post a picture of my kid on social media, unless he’s 6’7 and I’m hoping a scout from Duke will see it and offer him a scholarship saving me a fortune”. Steven’s wife (who chose to stay anonymous) had mixed feelings. “I mean, as a mother I want to be supportive of these kids but some of them… how can I put this politely… well, I’d rather just go with the ‘Wow time flies!’ comments. Maybe it depends on who the kids are as far as posting. Parents need to be honest with themselves.”

When it came to the children’s perspective there was resounding support against the photos being taken, at least from the 5th grade level and up. 12 yr. old Michael Friedland, who also lives in the neighborhood had this to say. “I don’t mind so much the standard comments but some of my Mom’s friends are just so corny. One of them wrote ‘Cutie Patutie’. I mean, who writes that? Honestly? And then one tried to friend me and I was like, this is weird and I told my Mom I was done.

The jury seems to be out as to whether first day of school pictures posted on social media are a mandatory parental obligation. An upcoming study at Colgate University on the lasting effects of children’s photos being posted is due to be published in the next year.