• Has your child already seen 13 Reasons Why? …Probably.

    by  • May 10, 2017 • 4 Every Girl, Internet Safety, Sex, Streaming, Violence • 34 Comments

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    You might not have heard of it, but I assure you – just about every teenager in America has.

    The original Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, is the most talked about TV show in America, particularly among high schoolers and middle school-aged children.  This teen TV drama is based on a book about a teenage girl who commits suicide and leaves behind a box of cassette tapes which explain the 13 reasons why she killed herself.

    13 Reasons Why is rated TV-MA for two extremely graphic rape scenes, and a graphic, bloody depiction of the main character committing suicide using razor blades.  There are also numerous scenes with unbleeped F-bombs and other profanity, sexual content, violence and bullying in high school, drug use and underage drinking.

    But if you ask most middle schoolers, they have either talked with their  friends about the graphic details of 13 Reasons Why, or have actually seen episodes, despite being rated TV-MA.

    Because the topics of suicide and bullying are extremely important, and the content of the series is so controversial, we want to hear from you!

    13ReasonsDonate1Do you know if your child or grandchild has seen 13 Reasons Why?

    Do you think 13 Reasons Why, rated TV-MA, is appropriate TV viewing  for teens and pre-teens?

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW about 13 Reasons Why!

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    About

    Chris is the PTC's web administrator and very involved in communications within the PTC. He is happily married to a elementary school teacher and is a proud parent of three children. He also coaches club soccer in his free time.

    34 Responses to Has your child already seen 13 Reasons Why? …Probably.

    1. Shannon
      May 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      I am a person who will happen across a tv show or movie and am willing to give it a try. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by the outcome, but unfortunately it is far more common for me to come across something that while it may have an important message to share it fails in so many ways with very few victories. This is, of course my own opinion… I’m sure others have different perspectives… we all have different experiences.
      Most recently, I happened across a Netflix original that was “recommended” on my home screen. This recommended show had not been talked about much in media. It is now a hot topic. I do not (I repeat DO NOT recommend the show… this is also a time when I feel that I need to say spoiler alert!).
      This is also a rather long post/rant, so buckle up, I may rock some boats.
      Some argue this show realistically portrays high school life, what teens are going through, and it’s edgy “honest” quality. If realistic includes many of the stereotypes … then fine, whatever, but I would argue that while teenage suicide, rape, sexual assault are issues that have not been addressed well in many media outlets. 13 reasons portrayed suicide as the only solution for this character. I get that she felt it was her only solution. I get that there were people who played a role leading up to her choice (bullying, rape, lack of support from the school counselor being the last straw), but there were other things that could have taken place…. perhaps THAT is where the show SHOULD have taken it. I get that that would be an entirely different story… but how about Hannah report the rape after it happened, how about in addition to asking for personal responsibility from those she left tapes to, she should have reported the rape of her friend, she should have talked to her parents, she herself also needed to take personal responsibility for what she is able to. She also could have avoided risk…. drinking and teenagers (some adults too) don’t mix, parties without supervision, etc. (NOTE: I do not believe that because she did these things she was “asking to be assaulted” or bullied, I do not believe that because a girl dresses a certain way or if in an intimate relationship she is asking for sex/to be raped… )
      She was “mature” enough to point out faults in others (big and small) but could not recognize her own call for help. Again, I get it. I was a teen once. I was sexually harassed, pressured, nearly assaulted, bullied (including by a teacher) and when I reported it to administration nothing was done about it. It was brushed aside. I experienced depression as she experienced. Shortly after high school graduation I just didn’t want to exist anymore. I would never have tried to kill myself, but I lost the will to live and experienced apathy just as Hannah had. I EASILY could have been Hannah… but I wasn’t. I recognized I needed help and I found it … even if my first three people I thought could help me didn’t. I didn’t tell my parents everything, and I didn’t, at the time, know which friends I could trust. I’m sure many of us who survived high school could make our own lists of hurts (much like Hannah’s tapes). As an adult I recognize that we all have hurts and baggage we need to let go of along the way in order to move on. It took me nearly 8 years to get to a place where I did let go and heal from my own personal traumas. Nearly 20 years later I am in a very good place. Life is a journey and it is hard. I think if we talk about these issues in a constructive way, we can change the culture to life from death.
      Implying something takes place is often just as powerful as demonstrating the whole graphic event … and this show could easily have done that. This show did not have to show rape, it did not need to show the main character kill herself. While there were messages before particularly graphic scenes, these scenes can be particularly triggering for someone who has experienced rape, contemplated suicide, lost a friend, or even a parent who lost a child. The show has been both hailed as being a step in the right direction towards sharing the message about suicide, it has also been demonized by others as glorifying suicide. I am not going to argue either side except for the glorification of the “suicide note”. While the idea of thirteen reasons why and Hannah having left tapes to those who affected her the most…driving her to suicide was creative it placed guilt on those who survived. One other student shot himself in the head as a result of the tapes.
      In addition to suicide, some of the other issues the show dealt with included alcohol/drug use, running away from personal responsibility (I.e. The girl that broke the stop sign and didn’t report it because she was afraid of getting in trouble, moments later an accident took place which destroyed one man’s life and took another… all because the stop sign was missing), sex, bullying, etc. the thing that really bothered me was perpetuating the stereotype that all teens are having sex, or partying or drinking… the truth is that they are not all doing it.
      What our young people need is to develop healthy relationships, respect for one another, have better education regarding sex (comprehensive sex normalizes sex and teaches from an everyone is doing it perspective… but why not take a different approach… equip youth for postponing sex until later in life, marriage preferably, and provide resources and support for those who don’t? Normalize abstinence/waiting). I can say that when I was in high school we had comprehensive sex education and it just felt like more pressure to compound the peer pressure I was already experiencing. We need to look outside our own selves to the world around us, build relationships, get to know one another and be there for each other. Life is hard and messed up sometimes, but there is also good too. There were people who cared about Hannah, and she failed to think about how her suicide would affect them. If a show could provide solutions rather than the problem we are already well aware of, that would have been far more productive.
      The show left me first depressed, then angry. The one thing that really upset me was the school
      Counselor’s response… wait until next year, he (her rapist) will have graduated and you will be a senior. My own experience with administration in high school was denial… if it didn’t happen, there’s nothing to sweep under the rug. For Hannah, there was a sense that the counselor cared to an extent, but he was inadequate with how to deal with it. (In the state of California, he would have been a mandated reporter… I’m sure it’s the same in other states)… but I do think that many in the education field feel inadequate or ill prepared for such issues. The sad thing is, per her tapes, she was having a “better” day, optimistic in moving forward, yet the counselor’s response brought her back to a place of apathy and as a result she went home and took her own life.
      This show was rated MA. I usually forget to check ratings before watching. First episode was intriguing. Then the second episode gave me a glimpse into why the show was rated as such…. language, sex, drinking, etc. definitely not appropriate for the “target” messaging group (high school).
      Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have begun producing their own work which they promote on their service. I have a feeling part of its recommendation was it was promoting its own show… but with their shows, as I have found, is they are pushing limits in so many ways that I fear for its impact on those who watch. For myself, I know I will wait until I have heard a bit about the show before choosing to watch or not. My life is changed from watching 13 Reasons and not in a positive way. I have experienced emotions and seen things I wish I can delete, but that’s not how our brains work…

    2. D
      May 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      The executive producer of this show is Selena Gomez. If her Disney Channel show “Wizards Of Waverly Place” had not been a smashing success, “13 Reasons Why” would never have become a TV series.

      We should have stopped Selena Gomez dead in her tracks while we had the chance…..

    3. Carie Jones
      May 16, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I heard about this show when my teenage daughter was getting a makeup tutorial at Seohora and one of the associates asked her if she had seen this show yet and encouraged her to do so when my daughter replied that she hadn’t.

      I looked into it. Read some articles from both points of view; it’s horrible, it’s great. I knew I didn’t want her to watch it by herself. We watched in together. I made sure to skip the rape scenes, but we watched the rest.

      I could criticize this series endlessly. There are so many things I didn’t like and wish weren’t in it. On the other hand, my daughter and I had some conversations we probably wouldn’t have had and they were very positive. I am sure different people will react differently, but my daughter was feeling that Hannah was very selfish and critical, often needlessly. She also pointed out that there was a lot of irony in other characters’ behaviors.

      Would I watch it again? No, and neither would my daughter. I hope we have further conversations about it, or the subjects that it covers, though. Would I recommend it others? No. And I also wouldn’t tell them not to watch it.

    4. Carol Usher
      May 18, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      I have checked with my daughter and learned that my granddaughter’s youth leader has brought it to the attention of the parents of the youth at her church in Alabama. I’m glad to know that the church is paying attention to something that is sure to be a topic among the kids. I’m choosing not to see the trailer myself so I’m not qualified to comment on the content, but I am against graphic violence of any sort. We need to address these issues with kids, for sure, but visual images stick forever. Just reading the descriptions, even of violence in the Bible, leaves a deep impression!

      Thank you for your ongoing work to protect our children from the dark side of media.

    5. Carolyn Orsi
      May 20, 2017 at 8:52 am

      I have a 13-year-old granddaughter. I don’t know if she has heard of this series or if she has seen it; I will call her today. I will also talk to my daughter about it. This is a very sensitive topic in our family for many reasons. I have a friend who is a LCSW who specializes in treating adolescents. I value her opinion, since she is counseling many middle-school children for depression. If my daughter feels that it is appropriate, and if my friend feels that it might be valuable for my granddaughter to see, then I would let her watch it as long as there was an adult to watch it with her and to talk about it. Our young people are exposed to so many things; it drives me nuts. But pretending that these problems (suicide, bullying, underage drinking, etc.) don’t exist or that we parents are afraid to talk about them will not make it better for our children and grandchildren. I will definitely watch the trailer and perhaps one episode, at least.

    6. Chase
      May 25, 2017 at 7:45 am

      Although explicit I find no issue within the show. it is rated mature and yes quite a few younger teens I have heard talk about the show but the younger crowd watching mature rating is a problem that is on the parents. There are parental controls but only 3( one being myself) out of over a dozen other parents I know care to even make an appropriate account for their child. More and more parents are sadly just becoming more like lazy babysitters.

    7. Bobby
      May 30, 2017 at 6:54 am

      As the show is Netflix, one of the “new big four” (HBO, Showtime, and Amazon the others) of television, it fits with the mould of premium pay television, with its TV-MA rating. In fact, being TV-MA and being on premium pay is a rite of passage for television, since critics will favour those shows instead of traditional standards that were used on broadcast.

      TV-MA is the equivalent of an NC-17 rating in the movies. Whereas movie theatre multiplexes ban NC-17 because of the “Kyle Busch Rule” (nobody under 17 allowed in the multiplex at any time, similar to a 2001 incident at a Champ Car race in Fontana where tobacco companies sponsored the CART race, but the Sears-sponsored NASCAR Truck Series race with no tobacco sponsors allowed teen drivers in the series at the time; CART ejected a Busch, then 16, from from the NASCAR Truck garage because of tobacco sponsorship of their event, based on a federal agreement), the New Big Four have no restrictions with TV-MA. They can show their filth. We are now seeing TV-MA be the place where movies even “too hot for movies” air, and television now is going “too hot for movies”.

      That is the bigger issue that I find disturbing how what is inappropriate for movies is now being rewarded on television.

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