My teen will not be watching 13 Reasons Why

Why my teen will not be watching 13 Reasons WhySo I jumped onto the ‘hip bandwagon’ and finally watched the hit Netflix mini-series, 13 Reasons Why. I had been told that it was a story about the suicide of a teenage girl and some people claimed that the show held legit life lessons that all teenagers could learn from. Sure thing, Suzy, but I need to get my eyes on this series first before I allow my kid to watch it. And you bet ya he’s been asking if he can! I must admit, the series left me feeling pretty disturbed, and for that reason my teen will NOT be watching 13 Reasons Why.

Firstly, after checking out the first two episodes, I was already OVER the calm way in which the leading lady, Hannah, (aka the dead girl) plots out the last few days of her life. She decided to make tapes documenting exactly who it was that drove her to commit suicide. I felt the plot to be totally unnatural and over-glamorous. I mean, not that I’m an expert (and please don’t shoot me down for saying this) but I would imagine that a normal teenager, going through crazy life stuff, would not be calmly talking her way through 13 tapes (she used cassettes) as the last few hours of her life drew near.

I watched this happen and all I could think was: MEH! I did not want my kid thinking that suicide would EVER be a cool thing… something that you could cleverly plot-out like Wentworth Muller in Prison Break. It’s an act of desperation. Let’s not forget to mention the very graphic way in which Hannah ends her life… not the kind of road map you’d want to be showing your hormotional teenager.

Hannah was also depicted as someone who left a mark on the entire school (or atleast the group of bullies who had lead her to the point of her death). As the tapes got out, their lives began to unravel. In fact, her tapes felt very “revengey” and as if she had won in the end. And I get it. I really do. It makes for good TV. But is that the message that we want to be teaching our kids? Do we want them to feel as if ending their lives could possibly yield the right results? Why make them think that?

Let me not even get into all the substance abuse and foul language. It was just not gelling with my inner spreadsheet. I know that these things are rife and maybe for some it IS pretty normal to get wasted on a school night and then brush your parents off when they ask about it. But as for me and my house… not so much a normal thing. I often feel as if the movies and series that we allow our kids to watch, kinda desensitizes us (and them) to things that we would normally be shocked by.

I don’t know – I guess this is something that you would need to watch and decide for yourself. As a parent, I would definitely recommend that you give it a watch, even if simply to make you aware of the process a teenager could go through, in the downward spiral towards suicide. And yes, I agree that teen suicide and date rape are things that we SHOULD be talking to our teens about. But I wish that this series helped to make it easier for us to do so. There are just too many red flags and I will not be comfortable showing it to my kid. Maybe you would feel as if your teen needs to watch this show in order to “catch a wake up”. But I feel that it may be a bit too much for mine. Either way, let me know what your thoughts are on this.


  • Shaveh

    I watched it and completely agree. I would recommend a teen reading the book rather than watching the disturbing footage. I do think that parents should watch it to get a little perspective into the current teen world. My heart broke for the broken homes that most of the children came from and motivated me to keep mine strong and a safe place for my kids to bring their friends to.

  • Natalie Norman

    I think that as sensationalist as it seems to adults it is very much how teens think and behave. What makes it jarring for adults is to consider that our seemly innocent children live and interact in this kind of world. I also consider the content too mature and explicit for most teens but I think it plays an important role in opening the eyes of parents. Even the parents in the series are seemingly unaware of the secret lives of their kids. Hannah’s relationship with her parents for example seems very much open, honest and positive. Perhaps that is what really scares us.

  • Theresia

    I loved this series!!!! You have to watch “after the reasons” to get a feel of why the producers did what that did in choosing scenes etc. big eye opener. We also have to bare in mind it’s an American show therefore all those situations are their “normal” for lack of a better explanation. An SA version I personally think would look a lot different and could be just as much an eye opener.
    I agree my teen, when they become teens, won’t be so easily allowed to watch content like that.
    I would recommend though to parents who want to let them watch, rather watch with them and discuss their thoughts after each episode. Something like that. Just my thoughts

  • Joan Grommell

    I started discussion with my daughters very young about sex, drugs, rape, drinking even depression and suicide. They are young 20s now and I knew back then…you can’t really stop your children from stuff like ‘watching’ something. Most kids are hearing the controversy over this and THAT is what is drawing them to watch it, without parents even knowing (which is dangerous–the discussion is what is important, as this series shows). I remember a neighbor telling me her son watched it through some site on his cell phone alone, and then again at a friend’s house. He admitted it to his parents because he was afraid for a long time to tell them how he was being bullied and how upset he was –it was a good thing from TRW here, but the point is, kids who want to watch this will find a way (maybe your child does not want to)

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