How can people behind & # 39; 13 Reasons Why & # 39; say they HELP children?

Mother-of-three Rachael Warburton had never heard of the Netflix series. 13 Reasons Why until the police knocked on her door early one morning.

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As a part-time student who studied long hours for a degree, Rachael knew nothing of the gleaming American High School drama, which focuses on the decision of a teenage pupil to commit suicide after sending recorded messages to anyone they blame.

But two months after all 13 episodes had been uploaded to the channel, two officers showed up at two o'clock in the morning to tell that something terrible had happened to her 12-year-old daughter Jessica the night before, while she was with her father was at home in Warrington, Cheshire.

As a part-time student who studied long hours for a degree, Rachael knew nothing of the gleaming US High School drama 13 Reasons Why. Pictured, character Hannah Baker in the suicide scene of the show

As a part-time student who studied long hours for a degree, Rachael knew nothing of the gleaming US High School drama 13 Reasons Why. Pictured, character Hannah Baker in the suicide scene of the show

Rachael, who had split with Jessica & # 39; s father five years earlier, said: & # 39; They asked me to sit down. They said Jessica died in the middle of the night.

& # 39; My first reaction was that she must have died in a car accident because it was so sudden. I never expected to hear the words that Jessica had hung up herself. After that, all I remember is screaming. & # 39;

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In the terrible aftermath that followed the suicide of her child two years ago, the teenage series began to focus more sharply on Rachael, 33 years old, from Leigh, Greater Manchester.

Conversations about Jessica & # 39; s social media, given to her by the police, showed that Jessica was fascinated by the story of Hannah Baker – the 17-year-old schoolgirl who decides to kill herself by tearing her wrists in the bath – and discussed the self-harm of the character with her friends.

Two months after all 13 episodes were uploaded to the channel, two officers showed up at 8 am to tell Rachael Warburton something that happened to her previous 12-year-old daughter Jessica (photo) while she was at her father's house. Warrington, Cheshire

Two months after all 13 episodes were uploaded to the channel, two officers showed up at 8 am to tell Rachael Warburton something that happened to her previous 12-year-old daughter Jessica (photo) while she was at her father's house. Warrington, Cheshire

Two months after all 13 episodes were uploaded to the channel, two officers showed up at 8 am to tell Rachael Warburton something that happened to her previous 12-year-old daughter Jessica (photo) while she was at her father's house. Warrington, Cheshire

Then Jessica & # 39; s suicide note had been posted on her social media in the hours prior to her death.

She had her own & # 39; Six Reasons & # 39; set out why she was killing herself, including the name of someone who she said was harassing her. In the TV series, Hannah accuses her classmates of teasing her in tapes that come to light after her death.

Somehow, now in the third year of his criminal forensic psychology studies, Rachael forced himself to watch the series from start to finish to try to understand her child's state of mind.

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& # 39; I watched it for a few days. The suicide scene was just awful to see. I'm worried that Jessica was only watching this, & she says.

Of course the reasons behind suicide are complex and there is never a single factor that causes this. Jessica was trapped in the midst of a custody conflict and her legal investigation heard that she had told teachers that she had a difficult home life.

Yet Rachael is not the only mother who believes that teenagers present suicide as a subject for entertainment, portrayal as an understandable option and the ultimate last word, contributed to her daughter's decision to take her own life.

A month after Jessica died in another part of Cheshire, 13-year-old Lily Mae Sharp also hung in her bedroom after she had played suicide games and pretended to hang herself with a sling of toilet paper in the schoolless.

Her mother Victoria told her inquest: & She watched a Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, (which) I think has similarities. She had mentioned it a few times. She asked if I had seen it and I said "No". But the tragic death of two young girls is not even beginning to reflect the impact. 13 Reasons Why could it be for his teenage audience?

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The highlight of the first series is a moving, straightforward scene where & # 39; Hannah & # 39; cuts her wrists in the bath. Classified 18, but immediately available on Netflix, family viewing, that's not it.

Although there is an age limit for signing up for a Netflix account, younger viewers can easily find their way to adult viewing material.

In America, where the first series was broadcast in 2017, worrying links between the show and the suicide rate among young people have been identified.

A month after Jessica died in another part of Cheshire, 13-year-old Lily Mae Sharp (photo) also hung herself in her bedroom after playing suicide games and pretending to hang herself up with a sling of toilet paper in the school

A month after Jessica died in another part of Cheshire, 13-year-old Lily Mae Sharp (photo) also hung herself in her bedroom after playing suicide games and pretending to hang herself up with a sling of toilet paper in the school

A month after Jessica died in another part of Cheshire, 13-year-old Lily Mae Sharp (photo) also hung herself in her bedroom after playing suicide games and pretending to hang herself up with a sling of toilet paper in the school

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Another series was released the following year, in 2018, but only now can the full impact be felt.

Earlier this year, American researchers, who measured suicide rates among 10 to 17 year olds, saw a peak of 195 additional deaths in the nine months following the first release of the show. These findings come on top of another study in which a 26 percent increase was found in internet searches for the sentence & # 39; committing suicide & # 39; after the show was first broadcast and dozens of warnings from charities about mental health and suicide around the world about its content.

So you could assume that 13 reasons why has been sent to history as an irresponsible and regrettable chapter in television history. You would be wrong. Netflix has announced that they have filmed a Third Series of this disturbing drama – and have released a short trailer. It is clear that it will continue to dramatize the astonishing effects of Hannah & # 39; s death on her schoolmates. In the meantime, the full suicide series, which was the final of the first series, is still available for anyone who wants to catch up.

All this despite the fact that the stage shamelessly ignores all guidelines on how suicide is shown in the British media and goes against multiple recommendations of suicide prevention charities The Samaritans and Papyrus and the World Health Organization. It says there are more than 50 studies showing that graphic media images of suicide cause more people to try it.

Nonetheless, it seems that Netflix, which maintains the series, enables discussions about & # 39; taboo & # 39; topics to broadcast what it wants, regardless of human costs.

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When the company launched its European streaming service from the Netherlands and is a & # 39; pull & # 39; service, meaning that viewers choose from hundreds of titles, the British media watchdog Ofcom sees that it is unable to make the channel more responsible.

It is a situation where Ofcom admits that & # 39; uneven & # 39; is, but says that can only be changed with government legislation.

Rachael, who had split with Jessica & # 39; s father five years earlier, said: & # 39; They asked me to sit down. They told me that Jessica had died in the middle of the night & # 39;

Rachael, who had split with Jessica & # 39; s father five years earlier, said: & # 39; They asked me to sit down. They told me that Jessica had died in the middle of the night & # 39;

Rachael, who had split with Jessica & # 39; s father five years earlier, said: & # 39; They asked me to sit down. They told me that Jessica had died in the middle of the night & # 39;

So where does this leave British parents behind when teen suicide rates are rising? According to recent government figures, the number of suicides among teenagers in England and Wales increased by 67 percent between 2010 and 2017.

Young girls and women are becoming increasingly vulnerable. More than one in seven deaths of women between five and nineteen years is now the result of suicide.

In addition, teen suicide makes entertainment a topic, one of the most vulnerable stages of growing up, according to clinical child psychologist Dr. Angharad Rudkin.

During adolescence, Dr. Rudkin says that teenagers are more likely to share ideas about & # 39; suicidal thoughts & # 39; to think about when they start to think deeply about death for the first time and to have fantasies about the end of their lives. The rewiring of these brains also means that they are more prone to risk taking.

Dr. Rudkin says: & # 39; They are also in a phase where they don't yet have the perspective to know that when they feel bad, things will usually get better. So if it is normalized as an option, suicide can be the only answer.

& # 39; It is naive to think that making suicide in a drama makes it a useful conversation. It promotes suicide as an option to control normal teenage feelings, and senses the impact. & # 39; For relatives, such as Rachael Warburton, the thought that the program could lead another young person to consider suicide makes her despair.

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In the interest of her daughter and those who might still be affected by it, she believes the third series should not be shown.

Rachael says: & # 39; I hear what the producers are saying about what they are trying to do, but I don't think they have achieved this. I think it has had the opposite effect and glamorizes suicide. & # 39;

Indeed, you just have to look at Instagram to see the messages that vulnerable teenagers from 13 reasons Why? Within seconds, it is easy to find dozens of photos where Hannah is sitting in an artfully lit bath as she collects the decision to commit suicide.

Many others immortalize one of Hannah's last sentences before taking her own life: & # 39; I need everything to stop. & # 39; In one clip a sobbing teenage boy with the same words in the camera is turned to her voice.

Another video from Hannah who cries while she cuts her wrists with a razor and focuses on pop music has been viewed more than 6,000 times.

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Dr. Louise Theodosiou, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told the Mail: & # 39; We must acknowledge that no matter how carefully this series is made, it can still introduce concepts for children and young people who had not previously thought about suicide as a serious possibility.

& # 39; The way children watch television has changed, and fewer and fewer people watch it.

& # 39; Perhaps if you had only watched one episode of 13 Reasons Why and you were watching this with your family, and it was interrupted by ad breaks, the effect might be different.

Jessica was trapped in the midst of a custody conflict and her legal investigation heard that she had told teachers she had a difficult home life

Jessica was trapped in the midst of a custody conflict and her legal investigation heard that she had told teachers she had a difficult home life

Jessica was trapped in the midst of a custody conflict and her legal investigation heard that she had told teachers she had a difficult home life

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& # 39; But if you are a young person binge-watching, delivery after delivery, at one o'clock & # 39; alone at night and you get angry, it becomes harder to find support and context for what you see. & # 39;

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Netflix nevertheless remains at the series while piling up warnings before the show.

In a statement about its decision to make a third series, the company says: & # 39; Our hearts go out to Jessica & # 39; s family.

& # 39; This show, along with other UK films and soaps, raises tough issues that teenagers grow up, many of which are traditionally taboo.

& # 39; We have heard directly from young people that 13 reasons why they have given the courage to speak and get help. From the start of the show we have worked closely with clinical psychologists to navigate through the various medical views and studies in this area – and to record their feedback. & # 39;

Their reaction, however, does not acknowledge that the scenes of the show are much more graphic than what was ever shown by a British terrestrial broadcaster who should have followed the directions of Ofcom.

In his defense, the broadcaster cites a study by the Northwestern University of America into the impact of 13 reasons why. It turned out that 58 percent of teenagers said they had talked to their parents about the show and the problems it caused, including bullying and assault.

However, the investigation did not ask whether watching the show encouraged suicidal thoughts. The company's statement also states that Netflix had the survey carried out in the first place.

However, the company quite rightly points out that the episodes are age categories and they offer parental control – even though many young people see 13 Reasons Why the general account of their family because they are not enabled

But as other mothers like Tania Howard point out, this is not a bar for kids who have access to the series – her 13-year-old daughter Chloe still managed to see it on her friends' phone during the lunch break at her school in Noord -London. Tania, 50, an editor, says: & Chloe & # 39; s school sent a warning to parents not to let children watch the series, completely unaware that they were viewing it on school grounds.

Netflix stays with the series, piling up warnings before the show (file image)

Netflix stays with the series, piling up warnings before the show (file image)

Netflix stays with the series, piling up warnings before the show (file image)

& # 39; I was really worried when I realized what Chloe had seen. All children have their friendship problems at this age. But the show's message is that suicide is a great way to get those you think are filthy into many problems. & # 39;

But other parents say that watching the series with their children has led to discussions about difficult topics.

Kat Sims, 44, a bookkeeper from Somerset, says she watched both of the first two series with her 12-year-old daughter.

& # 39; I thought it was a useful tool. My daughter and I were able to discuss topics such as sexual abuse and bullying, which also happens in the series.

& # 39; I told her that we have all gone through tough times at school and that she can always come to me to listen to without judgment. & # 39;

Other experts remain skeptical that the main motivation for the third series is to educate children.

Instead of breaking open the discussion about suicide so that teenagers can seek help, the experienced psychologist Phillip Hodson points out that, by showing it so graphically, the idea is rather to put the idea in their head.

In the end, he believes that the most likely reason why a third series is broadcast is that it gets attention and viewers for Netflix.

He says: & # 39; TV is an amoral sector. It actually only has two gods – shareholder profit and another commission. What the writers have invested in here is making sure there is another series. & # 39;

LSE Professor Sonia Livingstone, one of the UK's foremost children and media experts, also told Mail: “What is the use of the third series?

& # 39; I see the business argument, because perpetuating a successful product is profitable and has a fairly low risk.

& # 39; But in the meantime, we have a lot of mental health awareness and more drama that, to reach an audience, will certainly become more sensational, young people probably don't seem to benefit.

As the program continues, Jessica's life is over.

Her mother Rachael says: “When she died, I had to identify Jessica's body in the hospital. It was just another level of torture.

& # 39; I stayed with Jessica and talked to her. I told her that I loved her very much. That was the last time I spent with my daughter, but she wasn't there. She was just an empty shell. & # 39;

Her voice disappears. After all, she is a mother who knows that when teen suicide is real, there is absolutely no need for scripts or sensationalism.

Additional reporting:

Andrew Chamberlain

  • Tanith Carey is author of & # 39; What & # 39; s My Child Thinking? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents & # 39; published by DK, with Dr Angharad Rudkin.
  • If you are affected by any of the issues listed in this article, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or Papyrus 0800 068 41 41.

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