Death and grief on-line: Virtual memorialization and changing concepts of childhood death and parental bereavement on the Internet

Title

Death and grief on-line: Virtual memorialization and changing concepts of childhood death and parental bereavement on the Internet

Creator

Mitchell LM; Stephenson PH; Cadell S; Macdonald ME

Publisher

Health Sociology Review

Date

2012

Description

‘Virtual memorials’ intended to memorialize the lives of children imply significant shifts in the conceptualization of death, particularly for grieving parents. Created by parents in memory of their deceased children, on-line memorials constructed using templates reflect strong cultural beliefs about the nature of childhood deaths, grief and the development of a kind of digital afterlife. Virtual memorials create a new social value for the deceased, and shift death and bereavement from private into more public experiences. Building upon this work, we describe a kind of ‘on-line immortality’ created through virtual memorials where the virtual presence of the deceased in text and images, and practices intended to sustain a relationship with the deceased, can extend bereavement and the social lives of the dead indefinitely. While such memorials can offer solace, they also potentiate business opportunities for those hoping to create lasting customers. As such, they may also extend mourning indefinitely. This may be especially true for certain kinds of deeply problematic deaths, such as those of children.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

n/a

Citation

Mitchell LM; Stephenson PH; Cadell S; Macdonald ME, “Death and grief on-line: Virtual memorialization and changing concepts of childhood death and parental bereavement on the Internet,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 27, 2018, http://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/11113.

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