Netflix’s famous series ’13 Reasons Why’ has sparked a controversy after it was linked with causing teenage suicides. It implies that the series is provoking the young brains to commit suicide or harm themselves. The 2017’s releases show gained so much popularity after a study found its effect on young boys, last year.
This study was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania using the data provided by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), studying the pattern of teen suicide. It showed that the famous Netflix series has no effect to promote teenage suicide.
The new commentaries which are now published in the journal PLOS ONE say that the original authors have challenged this re-analysis conducted by APCC. However, the director of APCC has thoroughly defended his initial statement and critique.
He says that he will stand by the report and there is no apparent reason to relate this show with a teen suicide effect. He also said that the deep effect of this show on young girls is also not likely to exist.
The controversy with this Netflix show started in 2019 when Bridge et al. wrote that there has been a visible increase in teen suicides before Netflix released this series. However, the APPC report which was published in 2020 says that there is no reliable or authentic link between ’13 Reasons Why ‘and teens who commit suicide.
In the new commentary posted in PLOS, Bridge et al. has backed the initial finding saying that Netflix has been actively involved in promoting this show back in March 2017 before it was released. These promotions were provoking for the teenagers persuading them to wait for this dramatized story of a young girl omitting suicide. On the other side, the APPC director has found no valuable evidence showing how it might have involved in it.
Teenage suicide has become one of the highly alarming problems in the US and things like TV shows, celebrity news, and social media trends seem to encourage it. While it is possible that some media series can provoke young minds to get involved in something heinous, the entire burden can be shifted to one show only. The APPC director said that shows like ’13 Reasons Why’ have to be understood first before associating them with a dangerous trend like teenage suicide.
It is possible for the vulnerable audience to perceive any tv show negatively. The producers should pay attention to the content and create something that is entertaining and engaging without bringing out the adverse effects on all the viewers, let alone the younger ones.
While commenting on this latest controversy, the IPPC director also shared that there is still limited proof of how such events and shows can affect any vulnerable person from the viewers. One should resist concluding a bold statement that is based on predictions and assumptions only.