Netflix has been asked to not release one of its famous web series, 13 Reasons Why, until it is deemed safe by experts in the scientific community for consumption by an audience that is comprised heavily of minor children.
The request has come from The Parents Television Council. The series has been criticized for its graphic depiction of its lead character’s suicide, thus glorifying suicides. The series also focusses on other issues such as teen depression, bullying, rape and suicide.
In its bid to tackle any aftermath, Netflix announced that it added warning cards and crisis hotlines information to episodes and also commissioned a global research study with Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development titled – Exploring How Teens and Parents Responded to 13 Reasons Why.
The study led Netflix to introduce even more changes, including a custom introduction to each season from the show’s cast about the issues explored within the season. The PTC has lauded Netflix for the new viewer protections, but also stressed that the streaming giant must add additional safeguards.
“The impact of season one of 13 Reasons Why, which culminated with a graphic suicide scene of a high school-aged character, was powerful and intense: millions of children watched; the Google search term for how to commit suicide spiked 26 percent; and there were news reports of children literally taking their own lives after the series was released,” PTC president Tim Winter said in a statement.
Based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why follows teenager Clay Jensen as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life.