In Response to “13 Reasons Why”

I absolutely am having new, difficult conversations because of this show. With my 10 year old. Not because she watched it, but because she discovered a friend has a 13 Reasons Why book she is currently writing/filling in (journal style). She discovered a couple of the same friends (who have the books) have started cutting themselves.

Let me tell you something. This is ALL new. Until this show, her classmates weren’t doing this.

Maybe I’m just a mom, with no real psychology background, but I can with almost 100% certainty that 10, almost 11 year olds aren’t ready for this. They are not prepared for what they will see. And, they’re not developmentally ready to DEAL with or process the trauma of watching this show that is full of mature content: rape, self-harm/cutting, bullying, drug and alcohol use by underage students. 

I have strict settings on our Netflix account and I know she could still access it if she really wanted. She reported the cutting and is now being hated on by kids because she reported it. Daily, I have to reassure her she did the right thing because maybe these kids don’t realize if they cut too deep, they could die. Even though other kids reported it, it’s not enough. The ones who report are being bullied for reporting because they were scared and worried for their friend and what the cutting could mean, because they don’t really know.

We got an email today from the principal about knowing what our kids are watching, that this content is too mature for elementary age kids, so be ready and protect your kids from Netflix and social media. Selena Gomez can go wherever she can go…I’d say hell but that might imply death and that defeats the purpose of what I’m saying. She produced this. She has to know about bullying and what all this means. But she’s also an adult now and however we intend for material to be seen, we have to believe our younger kids will see it because they hear about it. Does she know what it feels like to see a 10 year olds face while explaining suicide or cutting? That this is a show that can be relevant to why people may commit suicide?!

If it wasn’t about her suicide, would people be saying, well this happens and needs to be talked about, viewed in such a way?? I would never say that if it was about rape or sexual abuse, especially if it was depicted in such a raw way. Just because it happens, doesn’t mean we need to make such mature content available to all kids. Yes, those things happen too, and I sure as hell would be equally as protective, and still know we have to have the conversations in an age appropriate and developmentally appropriate way.

My daughter is aware. She hates war and genocide and that women experience wage inequality. She knows about the atrocities of war, of what’s happening politically, socially, and what has happened historically. She knows she is raised by a single mom. She knows her Mom has ptsd and anxiety. She is a wise 10 year old. She knows about depression, how exercise helps us feel better and self care. I’m not sheltering her. But this… no. There are other ways.



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