13 Reasons Why is an American drama mystery television series based on the 2007 novel "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher and transformed by Brian Yorkey for Netflix.
The series revolves around a high school student, Clay Jensen and his friend Hannah Baker, a girl who committed suicide after suffering a lot of disheartened circumstances brought on by particular individuals at her school. A box of audiotapes recorded by Hannah before her death details the reasons why she ended her life. The 13-episode Netflix series targets teens as its core intended audience. However, many people believe that the show may not be appropriate viewing for teens and the series has become a controversy because of its unfaltering depiction of mature content, especially teen suicide and bullying.
In the show, it is also subtly emphasised about how parents, although worried, overlook certain expressions and behaviour of their children, especially when they are somewhere they refer to as 'A Dark Place'. Along with the usual show-buffs, parents should also include this series to watch as to get some insight to their troubled teenagers.
When teens consider suicide, they often fantasise the aftermath. They envisage that who will attend their funeral or who will regret not being kind to them when they were alive. And unfortunately, '13 Reasons Why' fuels that fantasy and entire series centres on people to the audiotapes of deceased character, Hannah Baker, that she left behind to explain her reasons for suicide.
Studies estimate that 90% of people who kill themselves are mentally ill. The show doesn't talk about mental illness at all. In fact, Hannah is often portrayed as one of the only few healthy individuals in the world, surrounded by cruel and heartless people.
The show makes suicide look like a good option. In the audiotapes that Hannah left behind, says that her decision to kill herself was well-planned. Hannah believed that it would not happen if she had got a chance to discuss her sufferings with her parents. Thus, she decided to end them by killing herself.
People who consider suicide, often believe that the world is a dark place filled with sick people as it showcases that almost all of Hannah's friends, family members and acquaintances betray her at some point in life.
The show reinforces the idea that suicide is an act of revenge that leaves people feeling sorry.
Hannah endures a series of horrific events, ranging from betrayal, sexual harassment to rape. But the show portrays her as completely helpless. She was not able to do things to improve her situation, keep herself safe and address the trauma, that she endured.
Most adults portray themselves as clueless, and those who know what's going on but still do not care. In fact, when Hannah tells her guidance that she was raped, she brushed her off and encouraged to move on. It is a dangerous message that could prevent teens from seeking help from a trusted person.
Hannah wants to take her pain seriously; she had thought that her suicide and tapes she left would transform everyone. She also thought that this was the best way to encourage students that suicide was the best way to grab other's attention and prove their actions hurtful.
Hannah requested that specific people listen to her audiotapes, so they understand the role they had played in her decision of killing herself.
The series offered a few warnings about the graphic nature of the show, and Netflix added more to it. Following criticism, it had also said that it would add more warnings for viewers, especially prior the first episode of the series.
When suicide can be communicable among all age groups, particularly, teens between 15-19 years of age are more susceptible to it. This series is enough to encourage teens, already thinking about suicide.
Since the series showcases on Netflix, many teens watch it, and the parents are also not aware of the same. They are also not aware of the messages the teens are taking. These kids want their parents to talk the facts about suicide.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) of America had issued a statement for parents and educators that had cautioned against allowing vulnerable youth, especially those who had thoughts of suicides from watching the show. The parents have also been warned of the danger.