Netflix recently announced its decision to remove a scene from its Bird Box film that used real footage of a train wreck that occurred in Canada.
Netflix was clearly in the wrong for including footage from a real-life disaster that killed 47 people in its fictional film, Bird Box, and the company made the right decision to remove and replace the scene. This controversy proves that Netflix, perhaps begrudgingly, understands that its content can affect viewers. This also shows that Netflix must take seriously the potential harm and impact on viewers of the teen-targeted suicide drama, ’13 Reasons Why,’ during which the lead female character is shown slitting her wrists in horrific, gory detail.
In case Netflix missed the memo, here’s a long list about the concerns the public has had about ’13 Reasons Why’:
- Academic research demonstrated a 26% increase in the Google search term for ‘How to Kill Myself’ following the Season 1 release.
- Suicide prevention experts and other members of the medical community have spoken publicly about their concerns over the potentially harmful impact of the show on children.
- Schools all over the U.S. have warned parents about the series.
- Pro-family organizations and advocates, including the Parents Television Council, have called on Netflix to remove the program and have heard from tens of thousands of concerned citizens through online petitions against the show.
- Commentators in the media, both internationally and in the U.S., have opined that the series presents suicide in a dangerous, glamourous manner.
- Academic research published in Psychiatric Services even found that suicidal teenagers claimed ‘13 Reasons Why’ raised their risk of taking their own lives.
- There have been news reports and stories about children who took their own lives after binge-watching the first season.
- Netflix’s own academic research about the show has proven that their content has an impact on viewers, and the company has received plenty of public criticism and warnings about ‘13 Reasons Why.’”
And ’13 Reasons Why’ is just one of many adult-like programs that Netflix markets to impressionable children and teens. Netflix targets minors with programs such as the cartoon ‘Big Mouth,’ which grotesquely sexualizes children, Desire, a film that borders on child pornography, and ‘Sex Education,’ which features high school aged characters engaged in explicit depictions of sex and nudity.
Netflix must take responsibility for all of its programs, not just one. We hope Netflix will see this as an opportunity to win back the trust of families.