What are teens saying about "13 Reasons Why?"

Tech Talk Tuesday #65: What are teens saying about "13 Reasons Why?"

Last week we talked about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” and how to talk to your kids about the hard subjects seen in the show. The show has remained a constant headline for its graphic portrayal of cyberbullying, rape and suicide. It has received so much attention, Netflix announced a second set of warnings before episodes.

Since our last post, we have received a lot of emails and comments about those hard issues from school administrators, parents, and counselors who work with teens. This week, we think it’s important to focus on what the teens think about the show and its provocative content. What are they saying about “13 Reasons Why?” Are they as freaked out about the show as their teachers and parents?

Not really.

One middle schooler told us that she can’t believe we are still so concerned about it. “That show was like 2 weeks ago,” she said. “I can’t believe you are still talking about it.”

Our producer’s 8th-grade daughter was very moved by the show. “It showed me that it is so important to be kind and understanding toward everyone. You never know what someone may be going through.”

A 9th-grader recently told me she and her friends felt that Hannah, the main character, was not someone any of them could relate to. They felt her actions were really not OK. She said, “Hannah should have said something when she saw her friend being attacked,” referring to a graphic scene in the show.

Selena Gomez, one of the show’s producers, has come forward with her own mental health challenges around anxiety and PTSD. In Vogue this month she talks about how DBT or dialectical behavior therapy has helped her get better. She says, “I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls are taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who is down. We also need to feel OK to fall apart.”

In a heartfelt essay for Teen Vogue, young adult YouTuber Eva Gutowski told her viewers - our teens - that she understands just how isolating it can feel when you are experiencing depression, bullying or other hardships. “It can feel like you're the only one going through that when that's not actually the case.”

It is so important to listen to our kids about what they are feeling and experiencing. Here are some questions to get the conversation going for this week’s Tech Talk Tuesday:

  • What have they heard their friends say about the series?
  • How do they feel about the series?
  • What do they think about what Selena Gomez and Eva Gutowski said?
  • What do they think about teens and adults getting counseling?