Some weeks ago I saw a friend or 2 post about Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why“. I asked about it and was told “Just watch it.” Then I began to hear more buzz about it. I’m not one to really follow trends. So, I did not start watching the series until I made significant room for it in my life (because I’m a binge watcher).
Before I decided to watch I did a little research, and was like “Whoooaa! What? Really? Okay.” I think I’ll watch. Maybe I’ll have my son watch with me. Then I saw a news segment that warned against it. So, I chose to watch it myself first, then decide what to do about my son.
So…if you aren’t hip. 13RW is a 13 episode series on Netflix that chronicles the 13 reasons why a teenage girl decides to commit suicide. After 2 episodes I wasn’t sure if I could watch all the way through. It was heart wrenching. The series is so well written and played that I fully empathized every character as they intended. But I continued to watch. As I thought I wanted to hurry it along a new issue came into play that had me thinking “How…Why…?” I really wanted to know how it could all go unnoticed? Why didn’t people speak up? Why were the adults so passive?
I don’t want to give up the entire plot. But it’s not just about teen suicide. here are so many issues addressed. If you are parent, want to be a parent, work with youth, or want to work with you in any capacity I’ve got 13 reasons why you should watch this series. I can honestly tell you as a victim of sexual assault, physical assault, and bullying that this is the best portrayal of what it’s like. It’s not fantasized or glorified. It’s real and earnest. You’ll quickly see they all did their homework to drive home a thorough message to the world.
So…Here are my 13RW you should watch 13 Reasons Why:
- Support a cause to address serious issues in our society that affect us all, not just our youth. -They had a goal. It’s not just art for art’s sake. They wanted to bring these issues to light so conversations and change can happen.
- See how harmful bullying is. -Bullying is not just kids being kids. They do not have a threshold for any of their behaviors because their brains are still developing. This too effects the impact on the victim emotionally.
- Get an idea of how young people formulate their thoughts and then make decisions. If you have raised a teen you know how illogical they can be. It only deepens when they are being influenced by their peers…who are not very logical all the time.
- Understand the emotions of a bullying victim.
- Recognize the value of regular adult/parental/guardian engagement. -It’s more than a quick chat or text during the day. They need us to hold them accountable on a steady basis. They need us guiding and redirecting them on a regular too, even if we feel like pests.
- Gain more awareness of sexual assault. -We do not talk about this enough out in the open with our young people. It happens more than we care to admit. And when it does we tend to brush it under a rug, and encourage the victim to just remain quiet.
- Gives you an awareness of the multi-faceted social issues teens face. -We say it with every generation and it’s true, “They’re going through things that we did not have to at their age.” So we need to be aware. And this show is brutally honest about these things.
- Prepares you to have open dialogue with the young people close to you about these issues.
- Learn more creative and thorough ways to be advocates for our young people. -It’s more than joining an organization or committee, attending a conference/workshop. There needs to be constant action and engagement.
- Recognize signs of mental health concerns.
- Witness the emotional strain on victims of sexual assault.
- Face the realities of the many issues our youth face every single day; either first hand or as bystanders.
- In the series you will find a character that you identify with, have met, or know.
Now go watch…