Why People Who Say Older Kids Shouldn't Watch '13 Reasons Why' Are COMPLETELY Wrong

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What Everyone Is Getting Wrong About '13 Reasons Why' And What You Need To Know
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Words are heavier than you think.

I'm sure by now if you haven't already binge-watched the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why, you at least have heard about it.

If not, here's the gist:

Hannah Baker, a new student at Liberty High School, dies by suicide. Prior to her death, she leaves a series of tapes with 13 stories of 13 people that in some way affected her decision to end her life. The show follows her friend and co-worker Clay as he listens to the tapes and we, as viewers, watch flashbacks of the events that took place (according to Hannah) while also seeing how her death affects the other students in present day.

Here's where things become a little sticky.

Suicide is taboo.

Talking about suicide is taboo.

Talking to KIDS about suicide is taboo.

So for a popular show to make its main focus the suicidal death of a teenage girl, it's a big deal.

Moreover, it's a necessity and should be almost mandatory for parents to talk to their kids about potential life-threatening issues such as depression and suicidal ideation.

 

RELATED: My 4-Year-Old Found Me Trying To Kill Myself — And Saved My Life

 

But then, of course, we have folks who believe the show glorifies suicide and is forbidding the show to be mentioned in school.

Did you get that?

FORBIDDING SUICIDE TO BE TALKED ABOUT IN SCHOOL.

We provide sexual education to students so that they can make the right choices and hopefully not be on the receiving end of a doctor saying, "You have an STD." or "You have HIV."

But suicide? Depression? SHHHHH!

One Canadian school sent a letter home to parents that read:

 

Dear Grade Six parents,
 
It is has come to Miss Ciezki's and my attention that some students are watching a Netflix series called 13 Reasons Why. The discussion that is unfolding at school is troubling. This series is rated Mature and the theme is the suicide of a high school student. This show includes graphic violence (rape) and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes.
 
Of course what your child watches on television is completely your choice, however I wanted to let you know that many students are watching and discussing this at school.
 
The purpose of this email is to provide you with this information. Please let your child know that discussion of 13 Reasons Why is not permitted at school due to the disturbing subject matter.
 
Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have questions about this show, please feel free to contact Miss Ciezki, who has watched the series.
 
Thank you,
 
Mme Ghali

But it's not just in Canada, several schools across the U.S. have also sent out similar memos to parents about the show.

What's problematic about this is that parents, through no fault of their own, are by their very nature busy.

There are single parents working double shifts to make ends meet. There are stay-at-home parents who, by the end of the day, just want to close their eyes for a few minutes without the sound of a child falling off the couch or a tween screaming because their sibling stole their shirt.

If these memos get to the parents who are not TV watchers, they will just abide by what they are being told. And why not?

The school administration is there to protect our students and as parents, we rely on their opinions and advice.

However, with the ever-growing epidemic of bullying, sexual assault, rape, and sadly suicide on school campuses around the country, shouldn't this be something that we do talk to our children about and expose them to?

This show is not for those who are suicidal, whether you're a child or an adult.

13 Reasons Why is for everyone else.

Let me explain.

 

SPOILER AHEAD:

 

During the series, we meet Alex, a teen boy who at first came off as awkward and lonely.

Then he became popular ... but popularity doesn't solve depression.

And while we [the viewers and the characters] are so focused on why Hannah died, we completely ignore the warning signs that Alex shows he's suffering from depression and ultimately suicidal ideation.

And by the end of the series, we learn that Alex has attempted suicide.

So why is this important?

Because for those who are not suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts, it's important to know that your words matter.

Your actions matter.

And your ability to sense someone's emotional troubles matter.

Hannah cleaned her room before she committed suicide.

Alex also cleaned his room before he committed suicide.

Does this mean that every time you child cleans his or her room, you need to put them on watch?

No!

But there are definite warning signs that we can ALL watch out for when it comes to adults or children.


AFSP (Warning signs of suicidal thoughts)

 

If we can have an open and honest dialogue about mental health, we can help prevent further loss.

So by limiting what our children can view or talk about, we are perpetuating the stigma attached to this heartbreaking, life-changing illness.

Should you allow your children to watch the graphic scenes? Not necessary.

Every parent has the right to decide for themselves how much their child can or cannot view.

However, the other parts of the show are so important and should be required viewing, if not for your child, but for YOU.

It's so difficult to understand what a person goes through when they are feeling at their rock bottom.

Having the tools to know what to look for and how to help can save a life.

Let's all try to be better.

Let's all try to be more helpful.

But most of all, let's end the stigma surrounding the mental health community so we don't have to read about another suicide that could have been prevented.

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