Advances in technology have made it possible for funeral services to be live streamed online for remote attendees. While virtual funerals provide more access through technology, they lack some of the emotional impact and communal grieving processes of an in-person ceremony. Understanding the pros and cons can help families decide what options are best.
Pros of Live streamed Virtual Funerals
Allows Wider Remote Attendance
One major benefit of live streaming a funeral is that it allows people to attend remotely who otherwise couldn’t due to travel restrictions, health limitations, disabilities, distance or other barriers. This opens up the service to more friends and family across a broader geographic area.
Virtual access enables remote grieving for far-flung loved ones who can’t physically be there. It gives more people the option to participate and pay respects.
More Affordable Options in live Virtual Funerals
Holding a virtual funeral likely lowers costs for family members since remote attendees don’t have to budget for travel and lodging costs related to an in-person service. Online platforms range from free services to low-cost paid options, avoiding venue rental fees.
The family may also opt for a simpler, more affordable funeral when conducted online. However, livestreaming equipment and staff costs could offset some savings.
Reduced Health Risks
For elderly relatives or those with medical conditions who are at higher risk with public gatherings, virtual attendance provides a safer option to participate while avoiding exposure. Similarly, anyone feeling unwell can join online without spreading illness.
Virtual access protects vulnerable attendees and those worried about gathering in groups. They can still be involved remotely and avoid health risks.
More Flexible Viewing Options in live Virtual Funerals
Funeral livestreams allow flexibility and convenience in viewing on different devices. Remote guests can join on a smartphone, laptop, tablet, computer, or smart TV depending on their situation.
Services also may be recorded for relatives and friends to watch later if they missed it live. This allows them to still connect with the memorial service when it fits their schedule.
Cons of Virtual Funerals
Technical Difficulties Disrupt Events
Choppy video, frozen screens and audio issues can interrupt virtual services. Funeral staff need training to resolve technical problems smoothly when they arise. Strong internet connections are key for both the stream and viewers. Backup phone lines also help in case of disruptions.
Glitches like these detract from meaningful moments in the service and the overall experience for online participants. Technology doesn’t always cooperate at critical times.
Lacks Physical Connection and Presence
Being together in person provides emotional support and comfort that is largely lost with virtual attendance. It may feel less meaningful without sitting together in quiet reverence, embracing loved ones, and conversing naturally.
While online guests can interact via chat or video, it isn’t the same as in-person solidarity. Virtual attendees also miss out on viewing the body and collective mourning experiences.
Fewer Ritual Options for Remote Attendees
Certain symbolic rituals like laying flowers or mementos, placing items in the grave and passing the pall over the casket can only be done when attending in person.
Virtual guests can’t participate directly in these meaningful traditions that bring closure. The funeral home can suggest adapted rituals to help provide remote mourners with a sense of inclusion and transition.
Privacy Concerns Need Addressing
When services go online, privacy considerations arise around protecting sensitive data and dignity. Access should be tightly controlled through invite links and passwords. Recordings raise additional consent issues if shared without approval.
Balancing Remote and In-Person Needs
Virtual funerals expand access for remote mourners, but don’t replace the experience of attending in person. Given different comfort levels, many families choose hybrid services with both online and limited in-person participation.
This balanced approach lets local mourners gather while protecting those joining virtually. Families can honor the deceased in a way that meets varying needs and preferences. With planning, virtual elements can complement traditional services.
While technology brings funeral services online, in-person connections, rituals and support remain vital to grieving for many. Families must weigh the trade-offs when incorporating virtual components based on what will be most meaningful.