Thanatology in the Digital Age

Authored by: Anne M. Smith , Corinne Cavuoti

Handbook of Thanatology

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781138430815
eBook ISBN: 9780203767306
Adobe ISBN: 9781136726507


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The Internet and digital/electronic technologies available today provide unprecedented access to information and support for people coping with illness and loss. Since the advent of the Internet in 1982, the human–computer interaction (HCI) has redefined individual relationships, social interaction, and global consciousness. The Internet provides unlimited access to information on any topic including issues surrounding death that were once considered taboo. The use of the Internet for death-related information and education has expanded to include loss-specific multifaceted websites, social networking for support, interactive counseling, artistic expression, blogging, cyber memorials, and postmortem continuing bonds. The methods and capabilities of access to the Internet also continue to advance rapidly. In the past decade, the idea of personal computing has advanced from the desktop computer to laptop computers, cell phones, tablets, and a variety of handheld devices. Similarly, the software programs available have expanded from basic programming to advanced social media, face-to-face interactions, cell phone apps, live streaming of events, video/digital storytelling along with instantaneous access to information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The newest development of cloud technology centralizes information. By using cyber storage, cloud technology allows greater sharing of information at greater speed. The cloud also allows dissemination of information to all personal devices making information and connectivity completely portable (Huang, Guo, Xie, & Wu, 2012, p. 39).

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