In a society where technology is becoming such a huge part of our daily lives, it is not surprising to see the Internet becoming part of the grieving and healing process. Connections seem easily made online when suffering from a loss with support groups or forums, which allow people anonymity in their communications.
There are many benefits for using technology to create memorials for the deceased. Neimeyer et al. (2011) mention that benefits included “honouring the dead in their own way and their own time, to visit the memorial whenever they choose, and to share with others their memories and information about the deceased person”(p. 368).
Creating memorials online opens up the possibility of Internet users abusing the site or have people not using the site created with the proper intentions, which in turns, may cause more grief for members.
Although there are benefits such as forming connections with others whom have had similar experiences and/or family and friends who may live far away, there are also downfalls that must be watched out for. Falconer et al. (2011) discuss the pitfalls such as getting grief frozen in time, further pain through online feelings of abandonment, and the possibility of the website being disabled.
There appears to be many online sites that are designed to specifically deal with those who are grieving but like all Internet material caution needs to be used for these to be effective in the grieving process. And talking with a therapist and connecting through phone calls, letters and visits in conjunction with technology are still advisable.
Falconer, K., Sachsenweger, M., Gibson, K., & Norman, H. (2011). Grieving in the Internet age. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 40(3), 79-88.
Neimeyer, R., Harris, D., Winokuer, H., & Thornton, G. (2011). Grief and bereavement in contemporary society: Bridging research and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
© 2013 Maria Stella, PhD. All Rights Reserved.