As teens spend more of their leisure time hanging out online, it stands to reason that when a loved one dies, they would turn to social networking sites to grieve,reports the Associated Press
"These are places where people in many ways lived their lives online," said Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet & American Life Project. "And what better way to grieve or mourn a person than in a space they created."
Social networking sites vary in their policies regarding deceased users. MySpace leaves profiles of the deceased active unless asked by family members to take it down. But one family, who son was killed in Iraq, had to file suit against Yahoo to get access to e-mails he had sent through a Yahoo account.
"We often hear from families that a user's profile is a way for friends to celebrate the person's life, giving friends a positive outlet to connect with one another and find comfort during the grieving process," MySpace, a unit of News Corp., said in a statement.
Some families who didn't even know their son or daughter had a MySpace account until after they died, find the posted messages a solace.
"It's hard to read, but it's more comforting," said Bernice Hartman of New Ringgold, Pa.. whose daughter, Jen Hartman, was killed in Iraq. "I think it's easier for her friends. They come to us at the funeral and say things, but I think it's easier for them to leave a message on that than to talk to us personally."