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Ever since it premiered, Netflix's 13 Reasons Why has been embroiled in controversy. The show is targeted at young viewers, leading to vocal concerns regarding the potential impact the series' subject matter could have on teens. Well, a new study suggests a startling insight into the show's influence on teen suicide.
The new study's conclusion suggests people may have been right to worry. Its conclusion cautions that further research will be needed. With that mind, their initial findings suggest youths at risk of suicide are particularly vulnerable to 13 Reasons Why's themes, per Psychiatry Online.
The study showed that 51% of the youth viewers taking part in the study believed 13 Reasons Why increased their suicide risk to a "nonzero" degree. In other words, placing it above zero. To clarify, those taking part in the study were all youths who have presented with suicide-related concerns. Those concerns having manifested in the time since 13 Reasons Why initially premiered.
Another finding of the study is that 84% of the teens watched 13 Reasons Why alone. When it came to potentially discussing their reactions to the series; 80% said they were likely to talk about it with their peers. Well under half, with 34%, said they were likely to discuss their thoughts with their parents. This can be counted as a sign that that important conversation does not appear likely to happen.
With teens so readily able to watch a series, such as 13 Reasons Why, without their parents' supervision, there should be an unspoken concern. Parents are at a disadvantage to discuss a series they may not even know their child is watching. Therefore, making them wholly unprepared for the consequences.
The question of whether teens should necessarily not watch shows or movies just because people their age are presented is another issue. Actors in their twenties play five of the show's principal characters.
Concern surrounding 13 Reasons Why's impact has been prevalent. Netflix responded by implementing some changes. Those alterations did little to defuse the controversy. Despite all of that, Netflix has renewed the series for a third season. It will return without one of its leads. Actress Katherine Langford and accordingly, her character Hannah Baker, will not be part of Season 3.
The series' first season revolved around the lead-up and aftermath of Hannah's suicide. In the wake of her death, audiotapes she sends to a classmate reveal what led to her decision. The show subsequently chronicles the result, including her parents' total devastation.
The second season did not let up on taking on a controversy. Season 2 concluded with a highly divisive finale. 13 Reasons Why will continue to attempt walking its thin line for at least another season.