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Experts warn against popular Netflix series '13 Reasons Why'

Experts warn against popular Netflix series '13 Reasons Why' (Photo: Netflix)

(KUTV) Laura Warburton just finished binge-watching the popular new Netflix series "13 Reasons Why."

The Huntsville, Utah, woman had heard about the show from many people recently. But what she saw left her feeling sick.

“I was devastated,” Warburton said. “I felt horrible after watching it.”

The show focuses on a teenage girl, Hannah, who dies by suicide. She also leaves behind a series of taped messages to other kids she blames for running her life.

“It really emphasized the success of someone bullying the bullyers,” Warburton said, “and that's just hideous to me.”

Asked if she felt the show glorifies suicide, Warburton added, “I think it absolutely did.”

Suicide is a topic she knows well. Warburton’s 16-year-old daughter -- also named Hannah –- took her life nearly three years ago.

Recently, many people had been asking her about this new series. That's why she watched it in the first place.

“I thought I'd better do something,” Warburton said. “I'd better know what I'm talking about. A lot of concern out there.”

That includes a warning from the National Association of School Pychologists which warns that the show, while powerful, could influence vulnerable teens to romanticize "revenge fantasies" or even consider suicide themselves.

“We don't want to blame and shame,” Warburton said. “We don't want to do that, and that's what that show did.”

Experts recommend parents get involved if their teens are watching the show. Warburton agrees.

“Just be there,” she said. “Talk to your kids.”

This is a topic pertinent to Utah. According to the Utah Department of Health, the youth suicide rate in this state is higher than the national rate.

Help is available around the clock. Call the Statewide CrisisLine at 801-587-3000 or the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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