• Study Links 13 Reasons Why to Increased Suicide Risk – So Why is Netflix Moving Forward with Season 3?

    by  • December 4, 2018 • Other • 0 Comments

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    There are abundant reasons why Netflix should never have given the green-light to 13 Reasons Why — the high-school drama about a teenaged girl who is raped, then “slut-shamed” by her peers at school and commits suicide — but a new study is adding an urgent and compelling reason to cancel it immediately. 

    Before the first season dropped, suicide prevention experts advised Netflix against airing the series because of concerns about “suicide contagion,” but Netflix ignored their concerns and released the series, anyhow. Within a few weeks, there were news reports linking teen suicides and attempted suicides to the series, as well as reports that Google searches on how to commit suicide spiked 26 percent after the first season came online. 

    In a desperate attempt at damage control, Netflix commissioned its own academic research to show that the series had a positive effect on teen viewers, encouraging teens to talk to their parents about the show and the issues the show raised and encouraging teens to apologize to someone for how they’d treated them.

    Netflix, it seems, is happy to allow that 13 Reasons influences teen behavior – but only insofar as it fits their narrative.

    In fact, when asked about the possibility that teens might be encouraged to harm themselves after watching, Netflix CEO Reid Hastings said, “13 Reasons Why has been enormously popular and successful. It’s engaging content. It is controversial, but nobody has to watch it.”

    But now there’s an even more compelling reason for Netflix to pull 13 Reasons Why.

    A new study finds that suicidal teenagers claimed 13 Reasons Why raised their risk of taking their own lives. The study’s authors said the findings “suggest a particular vulnerability to the show’s themes among youths at risk of suicide…”

    There is abundant evidence that Netflix is fully aware of the harm and potential for harm this series presents for impressionable young viewers.  It is long past time for Netflix to pull the plug on production for Season 3 of 13 Reasons, and to immediately pull seasons 1 and 2 from their streaming platform.

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    About

    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

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