The streaming service juggernaut, Netflix, has been breaking new grounds and revolutionizing the film and television industry by providing original content, as well as buying diverse massive libraries from studios.
But sometimes they miss the mark with original content like their show, Dear White People. The show’s title has racist undertones and they’ve already lost many subscribers due to that fact.
And now another Netflix original show dealing with an extremely heavy subject might turn even more viewers off, but more importantly, it is insanely dangerous for teenagers.
The New York Post reports:
“The city Department of Education is urging principals to warn parents about the Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why,’ which focuses on a student who leaves behind 13 audio tapes before committing suicide.
Officials drafted a letter to forward to parents about popular series.
’If your child is talking about this series or you are aware that they are watching it, ask them what they are thinking about,’ says the letter.
‘Remind them that you are there for them and that there are school professionals always available to answer questions, to listen and to connect them with people and places to assist them with anything that challenges them.”
The Netflix series, based on a young adult novel, is popular among teens and was recently named the most tweeted show of 2017.
The 13 episodes discuss sexual assault, bullying, suicide and the failure of adults to address students’ concerns.
The program has provoked criticism from counselors who complain it sends the wrong message by glorifying suicide.
‘We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series,’ the National Association of School Psychologists said in a statement.
‘Its powerful story telling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.’
City officials made a point not to discourage students from watching the show, but they also emphasized that parents should be monitoring the interpretation a young adult might perceive on the highly sensitive subject.
After all, if a parent is not careful with parental control settings, kids can watch some very mature content at the click of a button.
But the show has started a conversation with kids who might suffer from depression and unfortunately identifying with the show too much. Preventing that from happening is paramount.
The New York Post continued:
“‘We want students to know that we have resources available to support them,” Jaye Murray and Lois Herrera, the DOE’s executive directors of the Office of Counseling Support and Office of Safety and Youth Development, respectively, said in the May 2 letter to principals.
The DOE also said it provides suicide awareness training to all schools, conducted by the Samaritans of NY, which also runs the city’s Suicide Prevention Hotline.
There is also a guide to suicide prevention that educators can access.
Principals were also provided with other sources for guidance, including the Jed Foundation, the National Association of School Psychologists and Love is Respect, a site about dating and preventing and ending abusive relationships.”
Not to indict the show’s quality because of the way most people perceive suicide, but the danger lies in a child identifying with it being romanticized and somehow poetic. That might send the wrong message to a teenager who is already on the edge.