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Season 2 Parent Synopsis for 13 Reasons Why
Season 2 focuses on how Hannah’s classmates are coping with her suicide (which was graphically depicted in season 1)
Similar to the tapes in season 1, polaroids are discovered which reveal more information about the suicide
Experts have pointed out that each character in the series is defined almost exclusively by their trauma
Parents and mental health experts are raising serious concerns over the depiction of male rape and a thwarted school shooting in season 2
Instead of alerting the police of a school shooter, the main character confronts the shooter on his own. This scene particularly has raised major concerns from the mental health community because it sends the wrong message to students
In season 2 Netflix added video messages before every episode with the cast warning viewers that the show “may not be right” for them if they struggle with any of the issues the series is about. They also urge viewers to watch the series with a trusted adult and to reach out to someone if they are in crisis
Difficult subject matter is a common focus on the show such as bullying, drunk driving, rape, self-harm, assault, substance abuse, gun violence, extramarital affairs, consent, and suicide
There are several episodes that showcase these difficult topics in a graphic manner
What do parents need to know about season 2?
Many mental health experts fear that the series could prompt suicidal thoughts in vulnerable students and encourage students to handle difficult matters on their own, like the characters do on the show
The character who committed suicide in season 1 has a major role in season 2
This seems to tell students that if they end their life they can still influence and/or interact and watch their friends and family
After receiving criticism for being too graphic during season 1, Netflix added additional video warnings before each episode
Viewers have taken to social media to say that they didn’t feel the video warnings before each episode were adequate
A very graphic scene in the season 2 finale is concerning. Despite trying to use techniques to de-escalate bullying (that he learned in treatment), a student is raped as if nothing he learned in treatment could have helped him avoid the incident. This incident is what leads him to attempt a school shooting
This plot line can be a very dangerous message for vulnerable students to receive because it showcases that techniques learned in treatment do not work and the only solution is to be violent
There have been reports of copycat suicides happening after the release of the first season; where the deceased left tapes behind explaining their reasoning
What can parents do?
We recommend that students younger than 18 years old do not watch this series
Be aware of the show, it’s graphic nature, and the topics portrayed
Ensure that your children know that the show is not reality and can romanticize self-harm
Parents can create a PIN which allows them to view the Netflix series before giving their students access to it
Parents can watch the show to better understand the perspective of a vulnerable student
Teach your children that they can always come to you or a trusted adult if they have an incident, want to talk, or have questions
If you decide that your teen is ready to watch 13 Reasons Why, watch it with them and use it as an opportunity to start an open dialog about the sensitive topics presented in the show
Teach your student to never confront someone in a dangerous situation — especially if they have a weapon. Instead they should alert authorities, teachers, parents, or trusted adults right away
Tell your students to follow their gut, if something doesn’t feel right they need to seek help from an adult
Consider joining Parent University to get access to our bullying prevention curriculum for parents, students, and schools
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