Anyone wondering why there is so much violence in our culture need only tune into Season Two of Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” where they will see graphic depictions of sexual violence and a revenge plot that involves the planning of a school shooting – all contained in a show aimed at teenagers.
The Parents Television Council (PTC) is warning parents about the second season of “13 Reasons Why”, which is based on the story of a girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide and leaves a note depicting 13 reasons why she killed herself.
As the PTC explains, the new season opens with a lawsuit brought by the family of Hannah Baker against the school for failing to protect their daughter, and the many lives impacted by her suicide. As the story unfolds, viewers learn about a pattern of coercive and predatory sexual behavior by the “jocks” against many female students at the school; the administration prioritizing and protecting the athletics program at the expense of the emotional and physical well-being of many of the students; and the “system’s” (school guidance counselors, teachers and administrators; parents; the criminal justice system) consistent failure to protect the kids who were being bullied and abused.
One of the horrifying moments in the series is a group of boys who use a mop handle to sodomizie a teenage boy. This character is then shown plotting revenge by planning a school shooting.
“Netflix has delivered a ticking time bomb to teens and children who watch ’13 Reasons Why.’ The content and thematic elements of the second season are even worse than we expected. We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead female teen character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
PTC Program Director Melissa Henson, who watched the entire second season, said, “If you come into the series with feelings of hopelessness or depression, you’ll never walk away from the series feeling any better. And if you’re not feeling that way, the series will make you feel hopeless and depressed. For kids who are already at risk, who are being bullied or abused, the show may only serve to trigger those feelings and create dangerous real-life circumstances. We urge parents and schools to be alert and on guard in the weeks and months ahead.”
Even more alarming is the research conducted by the PTC which found that, following the end of Season One, the Google search term for how to commit suicide spiked 26 percent. Concerns over this content were so great that Netflix added warnings to the series, including video of some of the actors telling viewers this program may not be for them and urging them to talk to counselors or a trusted adult if they are considering suicide.
“The unfortunate reality is that the show is clearly produced for young viewers despite being rated for mature audiences. The fact that Netflix would point back to its website for those needing crisis intervention after watching the show demonstrates the company’s belief that at-risk viewers will need crisis intervention. Ironically, the entire crux of the show demonstrates that crisis intervention doesn’t really matter because the system doesn’t work to protect children from harm,” Winter continued.
“This content, the target audience, the intensity, and its graphic nature require legal accountability for any resulting real-life tragic consequences that may occur from this show,” he added.
When the first season was launched, experts warned Netflix not to go ahead with it; but instead of complying, they conducted their own research to try to counter these warnings.
“There is abundant evidence that Netflix realizes just how dangerous this program is and is capable of being, and yet chose to move forward with releasing the season anyway,” the PTC writes. “While we hope there will be no real-life consequences, after reviewing season two, we’re only left with grave concern for children who watch the show.”
High school counselors across the country are already on alert about the new season and the PTC is also advising parents to be on guard.
“We urge Netflix to immediately pull the show – both season 1 and 2 – because of its potential to harm teens and children.”
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