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This article was published on January 24, 2008

    British MP accuses memorial sites of “romanticizing death”

    British MP accuses memorial sites of “romanticizing death”
    Ernst-Jan Pfauth
    Story by

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth

    Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

    Madeleine Moon is a Labour MP in small town in South Wales in the U.K.. In a year’s time, seven young people around her town committed suicide. Seven really disturbing incidents, so no wonder that Moon is looking for a proper explanation and someone to blame. Well, she has found one: children are spending too much time online.

    Depressed girlThe victims were all very active on social networking sites, and which teenager isn’t? Moon doesn’t like that. “What people need is not to go into a virtual world of the Internet to deal with emotional problems,” she told Reuters. “They need to stay very much in this real world and talk to real people.”

    There we go again! Another person who doesn’t think of the digital world as real. Aren’t these kids talking to real people then? I bet there are a lot of depressed children that actually see the Internet as the ONLY way to meet people. They are the kind of people who used to just sit in their room and do nothing. Now there’s the Internet, where they can talk with people and find support.

    Moon should embrace that but al she can do is complain about it. And there’s more about the Internet that she doesn’t really care for: memorial sites where people leave messages and pictures for dead friends. According to the MP, these sites are ‘romanticizing death’.

    We asked Richard Derks, co-founder of memorial site Respectance.com, what he thinks of this remarkable opinion. “No doubt we’re in a time of breaking down taboos. Especially when it comes to emotions: people are now opening themselves up online like never before. Some British MPs, apparently, notwithstanding – but even the Queen of England now days does her Christmas speech via YouTube! We’ve passed the no-going-back point. It’s the age of emo-social media. Society is defining new traditions now – and, frankly, I think not a moment too soon.”

    It’s time to open your eyes Mrs. Moon, you can better use the Internet, instead of fighting it.