'13 Reasons Why' Hurts Teenagers and Netflix Should Drop the Show

Editor's note: This column was originally posted on Feb. 22, 2019, and we are bringing it back in light of news this week of academic research showing that suicides increased 28.9 percent among Americans ages 10-17 in the month after the show's 2017 debut. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, killing nearly 45,000 Americans annually. Despite this, Netflix is planning to release a third season of its original show 13 Reasons Why, which many studies say correlates with an increase in the number of online searches for "how to commit suicide."13 Reasons Why should not only drop this third season, but it should be taken off Netflix entirely. The show is damaging.The story revolves around a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who is driven to take her own life by repeated bullying from peers. Before her death, Baker records 13 tapes, one for each of the 13 people who are the reason she kills herself. Clay Jensen, Baker's love interest, is one of the students featured in the tapes, although he has no idea why. The tapes cause turmoil in the 13 people's lives, even leading one of them to attempt suicide himself.Through nearly 13 hours of programming, the show clearly stretches out Jay Asher's 288-page novel of the same name, upon which the show is based. The extremely sensitive topic is turned into a teenage drama, complete with cliffhangers, plot twists and Tumblr posts "shipping" Baker with Jensen. ("Shipping" is slang for fans supporting relationships between characters.)This results in a glamorization of suicide.  Continue reading...

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