Real Teens Talk: 13 Reasons Why

Today’s Real Teens Talk is a companion to our recent piece on the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.   All answers were provided via Instagram.

Trigger Warning: This article discusses teen suicide, gun violence, assault, bullying, mental health, and mature topics.  Not recommended for anyone under 16; all should read with discretion.  Connect with a trusted adult and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you are struggling or experiencing any distress. 

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Do you think 13 Reasons Why is a good influence on teen viewers?

“No, because the whole plot is based on a teenager committing suicide.  Plus, it also shows that if you have no support around you when things go wrong, [suicide] is the only way out.  That’s completely wrong for teens to be watching.” – Grace, 17

“13 Reasons Why does not show good influences.  All it shows is drama that does not help anything [in] the situation.  I mean, yeah, it shows consequences of what people’s actions do, but nothing [and] no one is ever positive on that show.  Everything and everyone is just sad [and] depressed.” – Erika, 20

“Personally, I think it is [a good influence] because it represents how much somebody’s mental health and the way they are treated can affect their life and everyone around them.  Even though [the series] does show some disturbing situations, in reality that does happen.  I personally don’t think it glamorizes suicide, but it can be very hard to watch at time.  I think it could be important for teens to watch with a trusted adult so we can see how serious mental health is and how important it is to treat others right.” – Sydney, 13

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“I think it can be an eye-opener of what’s to come in high school, and why it’s important to be careful as to who you associate yourself with, and that is [is] always important to tell the truth because it will always come out.” – Sophia, 16

“13 Reasons Why has saved my life.  It made me realize that I have value in this world, and even if it throws me to the ground all the time, I have the right to have fun and to [not] listen to the voices that tell me I can’t do anything because I am worthless.  By following Hannah’s story, I could see that there were way[s] out that [in] my life I couldn’t see, but on-screen I could.  I applied them [to my life] and now I am safe.” – Maggie*, 17

“As long as a [mature] person watches it and is not influenced in a bad way, I don’t think it’s any kind of problem.  Watching this series just makes you realize how even your closest friend might be upset, and you don’t know.  It makes you realize to care and be [there] for one another.” – Renisha, 15

“13 Reasons Why is a bad influence to me as it contains [themes] such as death, suicide, and all this horrible stuff that we don’t need and want to know about in our society!” – Kayla, 13

“I believe that 13 Reasons Why talks about series issues that, as people, we are uncomfortable to talk about or even listen [to].  I’ve experienced issues with boys, and I know how emotionally closed I became.  It felt like there was no one to talk to.  I believe that 13 Reasons Why is a good wake-up call for both adults and teenagers.  I do understand where people’s opinion comes from, about 13 Reasons Why being a bad influence, and I believe that they should have approached [the] release of the show a bit differently, like releasing the informational website in Season 1, rather than in Season 2, where teenagers could reach for needed help before they’ve watched the show to prepare themselves emotionally.” – Ronnie, 17

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“I do not think 13 Reasons Why is a good influence on teens.  As many have said, it tried to glorify a horrible thing.  Although it tends to make suicide sound point-proving, it also shows us what words and actions can do to somebody.  [That] being said, 13 Reasons Why can be considered good or bad depending on how you interpret it.” – Raegan, 13

“It is, but it isn’t.  It shows teens just how serious bullying is, and how extreme it can be if it’s not stopped.  The graphic scenes hit the heart deeply, which of course is uncomfortable, but at the same time you will never forget it.  It shows an incredibly harsh reality – a lot of bullying movies you see have the victim survive, however here the victim does not survive, which sends out a stronger message.  Furthermore, [Hannah has] never left anyone’s mind and so she is almost haunting them and making them feel guilty for how they treated her, which is a really strong example of how some people will feel if they are the bullies in a similar situation.” – Danisha, 16

“I think that it actually makes teens think that it may be cool to commit suicide.  It may even think it’ll give them a chance to mean something to someone because they feel that they don’t already.  In 13 Reasons Why, [Hannah] got all kinds of attention after her suicide, and yes, a lot of it was from the tapes.  I think that it could lead people to [want] to do the same kind of thing.  Overall, I don’t think that the show has the best influence on teens.” – Jessie*, 14

What do you think about 13 Reasons Why?  Comment below!

*Name changed to protect privacy of teen quoted

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