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Messages from the dead

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Date posted: February 22, 2013

GraveyardGetting a message from beyond the grave used to be the stuff of old horror movies or mediums hosting séances. Now, says a CNN story, several companies are offering services where your social networking site can continue to send messages from you after you’re dead.

Is this a good idea or not? I’m not sure.

Cool or Creepy, it’s a logical extension of social networking into the afterlife. We’ve already seen any number of tribute sites created to celebrate the life, accomplishments, and friendships of a deceased individual. And there have been instances of people setting up cruel sites on which to mock a dead person.

Many of the family members of 9/11 victims treasure the last voice mail messages their loved ones sent before the twin towers collapsed or flight 93 crashed. There have also been cases where, for example, a soldier was killed in Iraq or Afghanistan and his family was not permitted access to their late son’s email account. It’s all so new that the rules are being written as we go.

One could imagine someone dying of cancer and wanting to send posthumous message of love and encouragement to his survivors. Or one could see someone using this kind of service as a way of sending a suicide note or justifying their suicide. What are the ramifications?

As is often the case with technology, the tools are neither good nor bad. It’s how we use them that counts.

All the more reason to always keep a frank, open, and trusting dialogue with your children or students. And all the more reason to be teaching digital citizenship.

Photo: All Saints Graveyard, All Saints Church, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead
© Copyright Lee Kindness and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence