Is Facebook stimulating an unhealthy way of processing grief?

OUR GENERATION are glued to their phones, never off their computers or tablets, and constantly watching TV. But is this the reason that people are now mourning and memorialising people, (friends, family, co-workers, school acquaintances) that have sadly passed away, online. Why does it have to be so public and on the deceased person’s profile? Why do people need to comment on their profiles, when they know that they won’t get a reply? Is it a form of comfort for them? People grieve in their own ways and there is no right or wrong way to approach grief, especially if someone so young and dear to you has died, but does it have to involve people posting on their profile?

Facebook give you the option to memorialise the person’s profile or delete it completely. To do so, you have to contact them saying that your loved one has died, and preferably give them proof of death. If you choose to leave it as a memorial they will add the verb ‘Remembering’ before the person’s name. The profile will remain unchanged and all friends and family who were already able to contact the person in question can still share stories or photos on their timeline. If you choose to have it memorialised, then the profile is completely frozen and no one can log in unless you have left a legacy contact (someone to look after your memorialised account). A legacy contact is unavailable in the UK. Whichever you or your family/friends decide to do, you have to request it. If you don’t request it nothing will change. Facebook also say that if families are not willing to make a memorialised page, then they can create a group to use that as a platform of exchange instead of the individual’s profile. I don’t know how many of my family would be able to do this for me if the time came. Maybe there should be an easier way to delete your profile?

Real Life vs. The Virtual World

I realise that this is a pretty depressing topic, especially in a time when most of the readers of ASM are more interested in exams and graduation and drinking and travelling. That is understandable. But it is worth thinking about. The amount of times I just even see people update their statuses to something along the lines of ‘RIP Grandpa’ or ‘RIP my cat’ is enormous. It is often even in reference to people the people making the status don’t know. I realise that the people doing this are obviously incredibly upset, and have the right to post on their Facebook whatever they want to, but is it really necessary? Would you want someone to update their Facebook status the day you die saying that you are dead? I personally wouldn’t. It doesn’t exactly scream tasteful. I guess that a memorial profile is a way of keeping their memory alive and it is kind of like they are still there. But they aren’t. By posting things to their profile like you are expecting a reply, and saying that they have really helped you through your day is weird. The obsession with technology may be preventing us as a generation to process traumatic times like this in a more healthy way. For example, having conversations with other people that knew the loved one you are grieving over. Having a conversation, well one-sided conversation, with the deceased will not bring them back and it will probably not help you get over them. As horrible as it is, they are not coming back and you need to live your life to the fullest. They, most likely, would have wanted you to. I am not saying don’t think about them – I just think that doing it on their profile probably isn’t the best of ways to do so.