By Lily Meyers
Grieving in the Digital Age: How Social Media and Technology are Impacting the Mourning Process
In our digital age, social media and technology have become increasingly prevalent aspects of everyday life. But many have become digitally dependent – having a screen in front as a barrier to hide behind any information or triggers can become addictive when struggling to accept the premise of loss. While the advantages are numerous, there is growing concern that these advances could be having a negative impact on the mourning process.
Social media has been shown to play an important role in helping to connect those grieving and provide comfort through understanding from others who have gone through similar experiences.
Grief is a complex emotion that can impact individuals in different ways and to varying degrees. For many people, it can be an isolating experience as they grapple with their own feelings and attempt to cope with the loss of a loved one. Social media has been shown to play an important role in helping to connect those grieving and provide comfort through understanding from others who have gone through similar experiences. But while this type of support can be invaluable, it can also lead to added stress and anxiety if posts or comments are taken the wrong way or become a source of distraction from the grieving process.
Technology and social media can also affect how we experience our emotions when dealing with bereavement. With so much of our lives now lived online, it can be difficult to transition back to real-life support systems when someone is grieving. While digital communication has allowed us to easily connect with friends and family who may not be near us at the time of a loved one’s passing, it doesn’t always provide the comfort needed during this difficult time. Additionally, research has found that spending too much time on digital devices can lead to increased levels of loneliness and depression in those already in mourning.
Research has found that spending too much time on digital devices can lead to increased levels of loneliness and depression in those already in mourning.
However, there are ways you can utilise your time online, and balance that sense of escape and reality. Online communities can provide an outlet for expressing sadness, anger, fear and all the other complex emotions associated with grief. Writing down emotions or creating artwork is a great way to express difficult feelings without having to verbalize them out loud. Posting these reflections online allows individuals to share them privately or publicly so that they may be seen by others going through similar experiences.
Even businesses are becoming more and more conscious of triggers that could be in a marketing email in your inbox. Getting personalised emails for any holiday including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc can be a trigger for any dealing with the loss of a loved one– thankfully, businesses now allow you to completely opt out of any holidays or occasions, you don’t want to think about or would like to privatise those thoughts and not be bombarded with them whilst checking your emails.
There’s no doubt that the internet can be a powerful tool for those dealing with bereavement, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with using online resources and to take precautionary measures when engaging in grief-related activities. By exercising caution and taking time away from the computer, you can potentially benefit from the support that the web offers while avoiding its potential pitfalls and consider what options social media has for you to create your own online support system that doesn’t make you digitally dependent.