The Parents Television Council issued an urgent warning to parents and schools about the content found in Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” Season 2, which was just released on the platform last Friday, and has called on Netflix to pull the series entirely because of the potentially harmful content.
The second season of “13 Reasons Why” picks up with a lawsuit brought by the family of Hannah Baker against the school for failing to protect their daughter, and the many lives impacted by Hannah’s suicide. As the story unfolds, viewers learn about a pattern of coercive and predatory sexual behavior by the “jocks” against many female students at the school; the administration prioritizing and protecting the athletics program at the expense of the emotional and physical well-being of many of the students; and the “system’s” (school guidance counselors, teachers and administrators; parents; the criminal justice system) consistent failure to protect the kids who were being bullied and abused.
One of the horrifying moments in the series is a group of boys sodomizing a teenage boy with a mop handle.
This character is then shown plotting revenge by planning a school shooting.
“Netflix has delivered a ticking time bomb to teens and children who watch ’13 Reasons Why.’ The content and thematic elements of the second season are even worse than we expected. We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead female teen character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
PTC Program Director Melissa Henson, who watched the entire second season, said, “If you come into the series with feelings of hopelessness or depression, you’ll never walk away from the series feeling any better. And if you’re not feeling that way, the series will make you feel hopeless and depressed. For kids who are already at risk, who are being bullied or abused, the show may only serve to trigger those feelings and create dangerous real-life circumstances. We urge parents and schools to be alert and on guard in the weeks and months ahead.”
The PTC has raised concerns about Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” because the company is marketing graphic adult content to children. Following the Season 1 release, the Google search term for how to commit suicide spiked 26 percent, and there were news reports of children literally taking their own lives. Concern over this content were so great that Netflix added warnings to the series — video of some of the series’ actors talking about how this program may not be for them and urging them to talk with their school counselors or a trusted adult.
“The unfortunate reality is that the show is clearly produced for young viewers despite being rated for mature audiences. The fact that Netflix would point back to its website for those needing crisis intervention after watching the show demonstrates the company’s belief that at-risk viewers will need crisis intervention. Ironically, the entire crux of the show demonstrates that crisis intervention doesn’t really matter because the system doesn’t work to protect children from harm,” Winter continued.
“This content, the target audience, the intensity, and its graphic nature require legal accountability for any resulting real-life tragic consequences that may occur from this show.
What you have here is knowledge afterthought:
- experts in the field warned Netflix not to release the series;
- Netflix funded its own academic research to try to counter the negative; and
- Netflix is aware of other academic research showing harm.
There is abundant evidence that Netflix realizes just how dangerous this program is and is capable of being, and yet chose to move forward with releasing the season anyway.
While we hope there will be no real-life consequences, after reviewing season two, we’re only left with grave concern for children who watch the show.
“It has been reported that high school counselors across the country have been on high alert, and they are right to do so. Parents also need to be on guard.
“We urge Netflix to immediately pull the show – both season 1 and 2 – because of its potential to harm teens and children.”
If you need help, or know somebody you think is in need of help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org and Click to Chat