Thirteen Reasons Why You Should Watch ’13 Reasons Why’ With Your Teens [Spoilers] [Opinion]

13 Reasons Why is the new popular drama on Netflix focused on teen suicide. As more teens worldwide are watching 13 Reasons Why, we’ve compiled a list of 13 reasons why you should watch this series with your teen. Please note this article contains spoilers, and if you haven’t watched the series yet, there is a certain anticipation that takes place from one episode to the next. It is our recommendation, however, that you watch 13 Reasons Why first and then watch it with your teen. It is a series that you should familiarize yourself with and understand so that you can create an open dialogue with teens and young adults.

Although the series is popular and provides an avenue to discuss difficult topics such as bullying, sexual assault, slut-shaming, and teen suicide, there are some areas that draw concern. It is possible that certain viewers might watch 13 Reasons Why and identify with Hannah Baker in such a way that they feel suicide is an option. Due to this concern and some other issues with the series, it is highly recommended that you watch 13 Reasons Why with your teen for the sole purpose of creating a dialogue regarding each episode and the issues presented, and to determine whether your child is at risk. Here is our list of 13 reasons why you should watch the show with teens, followed by a brief synopsis of potential issues with the series.

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Thirteen Reasons Why You Should Watch 13 Reasons Why With Your Teens

  1. Watch the series with your teen because depression is never mentioned in 13 Reasons Why. Depression is a precursor to suicide, and the series does a grave injustice by not mentioning this.
  2. You should also watch show with your teen because approximately 157,000 youth each year are treated for self-inflicted injuries, according to the CDC.
  3. It’s important to watch the show with your teen because those who have attempted suicide previously will need in-depth discussion when watching this series.
  4. Suicide contagion is real and must be recognized according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There is a risk that the show may inspire teens to self-harm or attempt suicide.
  5. Discuss the series with your teen. 13 Reasons Why depicts a graphic suicide scene that can induce suicide contagion in teens. The suicide scene may inspire at-risk teens to attempt self-harm.
  6. Determine if your teen identifies with one of the main characters in the Netflix series.
  7. Talk to your children about recognizing the risk of suicide in their friends and family members. Use the series as a tool for recognizing suicide warning signs.
  8. Discuss the importance of self-care in suicide prevention. Teens must take time for them and need to nurture their hobbies, talents, and interests. Use the series to discuss steps Hannah Baker could have taken to nurture herself.
  9. Watch 13 Reasons Why with your teen because some people have accused the series of glorifying suicide. Make sure they understand that suicide is never an option. Consider listening to survivors of suicide and hear the real aftermath of those who’ve tried to end their lives.
  10. Recognize that your teen is going to watch the series with or without you, and it is better to have a discussion about the show rather than solely with their friends.
  11. Watch 13 Reasons Why with your teen because you might not feel the show goes far enough to explain the loss of a friend or loved one due to suicide. The school is not in mourning and the only stories we hear are those of the students on the tapes. The series does not express the great loss Hannah Baker’s suicide left in the community or even her family. Suicide often impacts more people than you may realize and much more would have been touched by Hannah Baker’s death.
  12. Keep in that at times, the plot is unbelievable such as Hannah Baker witnessed a rape, witnessed a traffic infraction that resulted in another student’s death, then was raped herself without saying a word until it was too late. The idea that Hannah Baker’s problems would have been solved if her relationship with Clay had worked out gives a false impression. Hannah had underlying issues with self-esteem and depression, and these were never addressed. The difficulties some might have with the plot shouldn’t take away from the opportunity to discuss teen suicide. Regardless of any issues with the plot, the series creates a platform to discuss teen suicide that previously did not exist. Use this opportunity to discuss these issues with your teen.
  13. It’s also important to watch the Netflix series because everyone is blamed for Hannah Baker’s suicide except for Hannah Baker. Hannah Baker was bullied, slut-shamed, and raped. However, not everyone who goes through these experiences opts for suicide. There is something underlying in Hannah that led her to suicide. She was never treated for depression and never spoke to a counselor about self-esteem issues. She internalized everything that happened to her, but she held everyone else accountable for her not caring about herself.

Suicide will not be prevented by having others treat you right. While the series has a strong anti-bullying message, Hannah needed to learn that she was her best source of self-esteem. She did not believe in herself and did not rise above the actions of others. The show does not go far enough to show that teens need to build self-esteem and self-confidence from within, but the show makes it appear as if Hannah Baker was murdered by the actions of those around her. Watch 13 Reasons Why with your teen and discuss whether they identify with Hannah Baker or have high self-esteem.

Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is a powerful series. Despite various problems and concerns, it touches on issues that teens face in a way that millions of teenagers across the globe identify with. There is no easy fix to teen suicide, bullying, and self-esteem issues. Hannah Baker did not commit suicide because of one particular instance, but because she lost hope in herself. It’s important that teens understand they cannot look to others for their own self-esteem. Peer pressure is a serious problem, and those who endure bullying are being harmed in many ways. If a teen is considering self-harm, they need to seek help. If teens are bullied, then schools must intervene and hold the bullies accountable.

Talk to your teen about the issues presented in 13 Reasons Why, and if your teen needs help, do not delay. You may contact the following resources if you are in danger of self-harm or are considering suicide.

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[Featured Image by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images]