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Lazy Millennials Now Attending Funerals Online in Britain

London: There is a growing trend of crematoriums offering live-streaming of funeral services in the UK with millennials more open to the idea of attending the last rites of loved ones ‘online’ than older people, according to a survey in the UK.

The survey conducted by Royal London, an insurance company in the UK, has found that one-third of the adults between the ages of 18 and 34 would have no problem “attending” a ceremony virtually, compared with just 23 per cent of those between the ages of 35 and 54.

The figures suggest that the trend is growing rapidly. Data released last October suggested that just one in five crematoriums could offer the service.

However, growing demand means half of funeral directors and crematoria can now live-streaming services online, The Telegraph reported.

The new survey suggested that its popularity might be limited to younger people.

The trend, however, is dividing mourners, with almost 50 per cent saying they would rather not watch at all than tune in to an online broadcast of a loved-one’s memorial.

A discreet video camera can be set up to film a funeral, which is then broadcast online on a password-protected site for the benefit of mourners who could not attend.

The practice has raised concerns that lazy mourners might use the technology as an excuse not to attend a funeral they would rather not go to.

More than half went so far as to say watching a funeral online would be “insensitive” or “morbid”.

Some funeral directors also say that sharing condolences with family members can be more important for the grieving process than witnessing the actual service.

However, the online videos can be useful for older mourners who might find it difficult to attend, or for relatives who live abroad.

Some funeral directors will even offer family members a recording of the service on a DVD, the report said.

Mona Patel, Royal London’s consumer spokeswoman, said, “It is understandable that most people would prefer to attend a funeral in person wherever possible.”

“But with so many people saying they have been forced to miss a funeral, live-streaming could be an option for those who would like to pay their last respects but aren’t able to attend in person,” Patel was quoted as saying.

“Many older people are not comfortable with this, but it is noticeable that younger people are much more open to paying their respects in a different way,” she said.

First Published: May 4, 2017, 5:02 PM IST