More bereaved people than ever are using online media to announce a loved one’s death, with one in five saying that they’d want friends and family to be notified of their own passing with an online post. A new study has revealed than one in eight people in the UK have already used online media to post a death notification.
The new report by the Co-op reveals that Brits are embracing social media and other online platforms to spread the news when someone they know has died. With the ever-increasing popularity of social media, people are switching from sending letters by post, to creating a social media post to share news of milestone events such as births, weddings and anniversaries and now even notification of deaths and funeral arrangements.
Unsurprisingly, 18-24 year-olds are the most likely to share news of a bereavement online, with almost a quarter saying that they had previously used the internet after a death to share the sad news with friends online.
Significantly, a quarter of people surveyed said that they wouldn’t have known that someone had died, if the death announcement hadn’t been shared online.
Almost half of those who had announced a death online said it was the quickest way to let people know, while over two fifths of people said they posted about the death to express how they felt. A quarter of people surveyed said that posting online was the only way to get in touch with some friends and family to notify them of the death.
More than one in 10 adults surveyed used a dedicated memorial site to remember their loved one online.
“People are living a significant part of their life online,” said Funeral Guide’s Gary Moyle. “So when someone dies, it’s natural that people want to acknowledge that online, whether simply to break the sad news or share thoughts and keep their loved one’s memory alive on a dedicated memorial site or app.
“Online resources like Funeral Guide’s obituaries can let people share the news and send messages of condolence online. This study confirms that this is a valuable service for the bereaved, which allows them to not only notify people of the death, but also share memories of loved ones online.
“The Co-op’s study shows that people actively want their death to be acknowledged online and we believe the number of people wanting to be remembered in this way will only increase.”
Being considerate of others is still important, however, when it comes to announcing deaths and paying tribute online. David Collingwood, head of operations for Co-op Funeralcare highlighted the importance of thinking before posting about a bereavement online: “We all deal with grief in different ways and my advice would be to consider if an online post is what your late loved one would have wanted and whether there is a risk of upsetting friends and family members by doing so.”