Opinion: Yet another MP fails to understand the positive role of new media amidst human tragedy

gone_too_soon_website.pngMy Tech Digest columns are usually fairly whimsical, so this one has been quite difficult to write. It touches on a sensitive and topical issue which is still being investigated — that of the recent suicides of seven young people in and around Bridgend, South Wales.

None of us know — and perhaps we’ll never know — exactly what motivated those teenagers to take their own lives, and I’m not for one moment suggesting that the Internet couldn’t have played a role in it, if indeed those suicides are connected in some way. However, many other methods of communication could also have contributed to them.

The local MP, Madeleine Moon, is rightly concerned, but has hit out at memorial web sites which she claims “romanticise death”.

“What is concerning is that you’re getting Internet bereavement walls. That’s not going to help anyone,” she told the Reuters news agency.

I’m sorry, Ms Moon, but that is a gross oversimplification of the situation. While I can’t profess to understand the modern teenager, I am probably of a generation somewhere in between theirs, and yours, and I do understand the positive power of online tributes.