A popular Netflix show has sparked a lot of debate in the past few weeks.
The show is called 13 reasons why and it has drawn a lot of interest from teens and parents who want to know what the buzz is all about to suicide prevention groups expressing major concern.
The 13-part series revolves around the story of a 17 year old who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people she says were part of reasons why she killed herself.
Netflix has just announced--- a second season is on the way. So what do you need to know before you let your kids watch it? Or should you even allow them to and at what age?
13 reasons why has become one of the most talked about shows of the year specifically marketed to minors. The young adult novel turned into a bingeable small screen series tackles bullying, rape, underage drinking and suicide in a way many think is potentially dangerous.
Including a scene that shows one character’s on screen suicide in disturbing detail.
Mental Health advocate Gwenda Summers say it glamorizes teen suicide and endangers vulnerable teens.
Mental health experts say the scene is too real and shows suicide as peaceful not painful. They believe The show ignores the relationship between suicide and the mental illness that often go hand in hand but should be addressed.
Parents are divided.
However, the popularity of the series among middle and high school students has left many educators scrambling how to deal with it. Some schools have sent home letters to at least make parents aware.
Other schools are coming up with alternatives. At Oxford High school , students created a 13 Reasons why not project. A different student gets on the intercom for 13 days in a row and tells a story of a difficult time they have had in high school with cyberbulling,dating, homelife, bodyshaming or sexting.
Instead of naming the person that hurt them they name the person who helped them through that hard time.
The project began May 1st and besides the daily announcements, the school put up awareness boards with a 24-hour hotline number.
Netflix has rated the show mature audience only but not everyone agrees that’s enough. Experts tell us if you choose to let your teen watch it, there are some simple things you can do.
Experts say talk to them during the show and after. Ask them how it affected them. This may be the best opportunity to have this conversation.
Experts recommend the show for children 11 and older and only if parents think they are mature enough to handle it.
As mentioned If your child is more vulnerable or has ever had suicide tendencies or idealizes suicide –than this show isn’t for them.
Most importantly- educate yourself on the topics of bullying , sexual assault, binge drinking and suicide.