• Netflix Must Do More to Protect Children from Explicit Content in 13 Reasons Why

    by  • April 4, 2018 • Press Release, Streaming • 12 Comments


    The PTC commends Netflix for adding some viewer protections for its second season of 13 Reasons Why. But Netflix must do more to protect children from the demonstrably harmful, graphic content.

    “The impact of season one of 13 Reasons Why, which culminated with a graphic suicide scene of a high school-aged character, was powerful and intense: millions of children watched; the Google search term for how to commit suicide spiked 26 percent; and there were news reports of children literally taking their own lives after the series was released,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

    “We may never know the full extent of how grave the influence was, but we do know it was enough for Netflix to commission a research report on how the show has impacted the lives of its viewers – especially young viewers – in positive ways. The report was produced by the prestigious Northwestern University School of Communication, and was led by the respected scholar, Dr. Ellen Wartella, whose work in the field of violent media’s impact on children is highly regarded. The report proved just how powerfully the program impacted its viewers, and how much stronger the emotional connection to the series’ characters was for children aged 13-18 than for young adults or adults – likely one reason Netflix added some viewer protections for its upcoming season of the series.

    “Netflix has demonstrated that it now has full knowledge of this program’s potential effect – especially on young viewers, and they cannot now feign ignorance should tragedy strike.  Netflix is readily available for children to watch via TV, phones, and other devices, and the content can be potentially harmful to viewers.

    “Last August, a PTC study of streaming services found that children have easy access to adult content, in part, because the parental controls are lax or non-existent. We published a number of recommendations to improve streaming services’ effectiveness to protect innocent eyes from explicit material. Gratefully, a portion of our recommendations have been adopted by Netflix; but the company needs to do more.

    First, we call on Netflix to refrain from releasing season two of 13 Reasons Why until experts in the scientific community have determined it to be safe for consumption by an audience that is comprised heavily of minor children. When a film or TV series centers entirely on high school-aged children for its storytelling, it is high school and junior high school children who watch and who feel most emotionally-connected to the characters. Grown-ups don’t put themselves into the position of high schoolers; but other children do.

    Second, we call on Netflix to implement a pricing structure similar to Sirius/XM Satellite radio that allows subscribers – and especially parents – to opt out of adult or explicit programming in exchange for a reduction in the subscription price.

    Third, we call on Netflix to work constructively and proactively with filtering service providers, like VidAngel, which allow consumers the ability to filter explicit content from the entertainment they stream inside their homes.

    Fourth, we call on Netflix to use its platform as a positive resource for those who are at greatest risk from consuming this content of this program. For instance, the rapper Logic’s song called 1-800-273-8255 is credited with a sharp increase in the prevention of suicide.

    And lastly, we call on Netflix to participate in a national symposium to develop and identify effective protective measures for children and families. Congress passed the Child Safe Viewing Act almost a decade ago, and industry representatives need to help deliver real solutions, rather than seek cover from its intended reach.

    “Parents may believe that Netflix is ‘safer’ for their families than other forms of entertainment, but the reality is that it is not. Parents need to be aware of 13 Reasons Why, and this insidious digital media culture that is engulfing our children and teens,” Winter concluded.



    12 Responses to Netflix Must Do More to Protect Children from Explicit Content in 13 Reasons Why

    1. August 2, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      Netflix must do more to protect children from the demonstrably harmful, graphic content how to change my netflix plan.

    2. Gabe
      May 19, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Have you guys(PTC) heard about parental controls and/or the V-Chip?

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        May 21, 2018 at 2:40 pm


        Yes, we’ve heard of them. (We’ve also heard your exact same comment ad nauseam.) Believe it or not, you’re not the first person to say this to us — as though pointing out the existence of the V-Chip absolves Hollywood of all responsibility for what it produces.

        Did *YOU* know that the V-Chip and so-called “parental controls” are entirely dependent on the content rating (TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA) given the program? And do you know who assigns those ratings? The networks themselves. So the same company that produces the show and airs the show also rates the show — in an entirely dishonest and self-interested fashion.

        If you’re going to attack us again, next time, do more than three seconds of research on the subject. And try to be a little original. What’s next? Saying, “Do your job and be a parent?” (We’ve heard that one before, too.)

        • Bert
          June 5, 2018 at 1:11 am

          So, Mr. Gildemeister. What you’re insinuating is that PTC & the like as well as major networks are more fit to filter a child’s content than that child’s parent. That seems like an authoritarian mode of thinking to me. You made a rebuttal that Gabe seemed to believe that,”the existence of the V-Chip absolves Hollywood of all responsibility for what it produces.” And while you’re correct in your implicated belief that Gabe’s statement is false. However, you have to realize that your implicated agreement with this article and its message is basically saying, “I’m either too lazy or incompetent to judge what is safe for my own child(ren) so I need a third party to do it for me.” It seems that you aim for a utopia that will never be seen.

      • VECTOR
        May 29, 2018 at 7:11 pm

        The parental controls are a complete joke. They are a secured with a 4-digit numerical pass code that can be broken in a few hours.

        If they really want secure parental controls, Netflix should allow you to hook up a keyboard with a USB connection and enter a password with numbers, letters (uppercase and lowercase), and punctuation symbols. They should also incorporate two-step verification that sends a text message to your cellphone with a six-digit code to enter.

        It’s real easy to say “Do your job and be a parent” until you become a parent and you understand how hard it is.

        • Bert
          June 5, 2018 at 1:16 am

          Yeah, it’s real easy to say, “Do your job and be a parent.” Regardless, you still have to do your job and be a parent. You can’t stop just because it’s hard. Advocating for stuff like this is like you saying, “I’m either too lazy or incompetent to filter what I deem as unsafe for my own child(ren) so I need a third party to do it for me.”

    3. Jonathan
      April 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      71% of teens and young adults found the show relatable, and nearly three-quarters of teen and young adult viewers said the show made them feel more comfortable processing tough topics.
      More than 50% reached out to someone to apologize for how they had treated them.Nearly 75% of teens said that they tried to be more considerate about how they treated others after watching the show.Two-thirds of parents asked to have the cast come out of character to discuss how to get support. (In response, a custom intro will be added at the start of each season with the cast: see it above.)More than half of parents want more guidance from mental health experts. (In response, additional resources have been added to 13ReasonsWhy.Info, which will now also include a viewing guide.)

      Maybe instead of deleating this for no reason you actually engage in a conversation?

      Unfortunately that’s not how this group works. Someone goes against your agenda, you censor them.

      • Girl
        May 10, 2018 at 2:03 am

        Hi du hast recht ich W/15 würde dazu ermutigt die anderen besser zu behandeln

    4. MortyBallGT
      April 13, 2018 at 9:12 am

      How about, realize that it is RATED TV-MA.

      • some guy
        April 15, 2018 at 8:30 am

        Yes, but that won’t stop teens since there are no Age Vertification

    5. Shinji
      April 5, 2018 at 6:37 am

      The show is rated MA and has more disclaimers associated with it than anything else on Netflix. What more do you want them to do? Studies like this are just as bad as ones claiming “SpongeBob is harmful to preschoolers.” Yeah, no duh, it’s not meant for preschoolers.

    6. Sara Carballo Sánchez
      April 5, 2018 at 2:06 am

      My God, you are being crazy. There will always be depression, there will always be people who will try to take their own lifes. It’s not because a TV show, for God’s sake. It’s because people are cruel.
      Look after your kids, be careful about that they watch on TV and about how they are feeling, and stop thinking we don’t need to watch this series cuz u think it’s ‘taboo’. It’s not, this happens, aswell as people kills other people and you kids can watch it in the internet.

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