As parents and teachers around the world continue to express concern over Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, a well-known adolescent psychiatrist has come forward to demand the streaming giant remove the series immediately.
“This show should be pulled off the air immediately.”
During an interview with Today, Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, the president of the Child Mind Institute, said that he believed Netflix needed to remove 13 Reasons Why immediately from their library.
“Teenage suicide is contagious. We know for over three decades that when kids watch television where they depict a suicide, they’re more likely to attempt and they’re more likely to actually (kill themselves).”
Today reached out to Netflix for a response to the psychiatrist’s demand to have the series taken down. The streaming giant, however, declined to give a statement.
For those who haven’t seen 13 Reasons Why or don’t know much about it, the series tells the story of a high school student who leaves tapes behind which reveal the 13 reasons why she committed suicide. The 13 reasons revealed in the tapes include bullying, underage drinking, and sexual assault.
According to Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, it is predicted that 5,000 teenagers will commit suicide this year. The psychiatrist believes that is 5,000 reasons why Netflix needs to remove 13 Reasons Why immediately. The psychiatrist proceeded to tell Today everything he believed people needed to know about this series and why Netflix needs to remove it immediately.
Why Should Netflix Remove The Series Immediately?
According to Koplewicz, teenagers are at a much higher risk of committing suicide than adults. He also revealed that 90 percent of teenagers who commit suicide do so because they have a psychiatric disorder that makes them extremely vulnerable. The psychiatrist believes 13 Reasons Why is sending the wrong message to teenagers who are watching the series and that is ultimately why it needs to be removed.
“The problem with 13 Reasons Why is that it shows you that when you’re in trouble as a teenager, there is no help, you’re hopeless and that suicide is glamorous and effective — that’s not the message we want them to have.”
The psychiatrist went on to reveal that his demand to have Netflix remove the series stemmed from a series of studies that were conducted three decades ago. These studies revealed that four TV programs that aired with a focus on teen suicide caused a noticeable increase in the number of both attempts and successful teenage suicides.
Koplewicz also noted that Netflix’s decision to create and stream 13 Reasons Why is both “unethical” and “irresponsible.” He claimed Netflix ignored “decades-worth of research” when they made the decision to create and stream this series.
“It’s only a matter of time when we will start seeing more suicide attempts among teenagers and more completions. The responsible thing to do is to remove the program immediately, not to keep promoting it.”
This psychiatrist claims parents need to understand this is a show with a “very attractive” character who commits suicide and glorifies it. He believes the series sends out the message that “suicide is a solution” over and over again through the series. Koplewicz believes this is not a series teenagers should be watching, and he believes parents who have children that have already seen the series need to find time to sit down and talk to them about it.
“Explain to them that suicide is not a solution.”
The psychiatrist did note that just preventing your child from not watching 13 Reasons Why is not necessarily enough. He claims the real reason behind his demand for Netflix to remove the series is because children and teenagers are going to hear people talking about the show even if they aren’t watching it.
“You most probably have to discuss the show with your children whether or not they’re going to watch it because if you don’t, someone else is telling them about it.”
While Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz believes Netflix needs to remove 13 Reasons Why immediately from their library, he also believes parents need to sit down and have a conversation with their children about suicide not being an option.
If you or someone you know needs help – or is thinking about suicide – please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 at any time.
Do you think this psychiatrist is right? Should Netflix listen to his demand and remove 13 Reasons Why? Is the series causing that much damage to teenagers?
[Featured Image by Netflix]