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Should Your Teen Be Watching 13 Reasons Why?

Not all parents take an interest in paying attention to the ratings for shows that are being watched by their teens, especially with older teenagers. 13 Reasons Why show on Netflix in its second season, with a third season in pre-production. This relatively new show earned a rating of MA which stands for Mature Audiences. The premise of the show revolves around a young girl, Hannah, who has committed suicide and is communicating the 13 reasons why she did so on cassette tapes with those whom she deemed as playing an important role in her suicide when they bullied her. The topic itself is a mature topic, but add graphic content of sexual assault, fist fights, language, drug use, underage drinking, and self-harm and you have a show that should be monitored by parents. Although some parents may want to expose their teenagers to the truths of the world, many of these real issues that the show tackles may do more harm than good for teenagers who may not be able to handle the truth. Criticism with the show has come from pediatricians, education boards, and mental health professionals who think the glamorization of the dangerous activities the series portrays to teens may make them decide to follow suite. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death among ages 10-24. Suicide has recently been perceived as a contagious trend around the country where these acts have been investigated by the CDC and classified as teen suicide clusters. The point that these groups are trying to advocate is that watching a show about fake suicide can point a distressed teen in the wrong direction with the wrong information. Parents are recommended to create an atmosphere of openness with their teenagers to discuss the dangers of suicide and the finality of their decision to do so. Talking to teens about drinking and using drugs, and suggestions on how to keep themselves safe from sexual assault and self-harm will also be helpful to bring these subjects up for prevention. This information is best transmitted starting in the home so that a teenager understands they have an open door to come to their parent if these issues happen to them. While this Netflix original has been highly-acclaimed and one of the most tweeted about shows in 2018, the viewing should be kept to mature audiences so that suicide does not appear to be cool to teenagers. When it comes to discussing these lurid topics, the prerogative should be to educate the youth of today, so they understand they have so much more to live for.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at: 1-800-273-8255


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