Disclaimer: Triggering content below regarding suicide.
I’d read about it on CNN and again on People Magazine. At first, I had no interest in the new show about a young teenager who commits suicide and leaves behind 13-tapes to explain why. I will preface in saying that I am not accustomed to sweeping things under the rug, or avoiding taboo topics. I talk about things. I respectfully ask hard and probing questions to understand why people feel the way they do. I am in the growing margin of people that believe mental illness, feminism and PTSD – among other things – need to be talked about, explored and de-stigmatized. Nonetheless at this stage in my life, with nieces and nephews in junior high and high school, and two young daughters at home, I decided to see what this show was about – by exploring hashtags. At the end of a trailer is a hashtag, #13reasonswhy.
I wanted to know what Netflix was marketing and how. Knowing that teens suffering from depression are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide (King & Vidourek, 2012) I was curious to see the types of ads produced for a show that covers a vulnerable demographic. I’ve read the op-ed of Writer Nic Sheff and his very personal reasons for why he fought to show the graphic way in which she took her life. I’ve also read why experts believe it is dangerous for young minds to watch. This week we covered Ethics and I am curious to know what you think about the ads – is this an Ethical gray area?
I am still undecided, and contending with the hashtag, #13reasonswhy. It’s the fastest way to spread information via social media, and with over 73% of teens actively using these mediums it seems like a brazen and irresponsible way to deliver the original series to an audience we already know is susceptible to influence (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith & Zickhur, 2010). I understand that it needed traction for the campaign. But, I am leaning towards the need to be more careful about the advertising and the channels used to market. What do you think? Could there have been another way to market this series without delivering it to the most vulnerable viewers?
13 Reasons Why Writer: Why We Didn’t Shy Away from Hannah’s Suicide. (2017). VanityFair.com. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/04/13-reasons-why-suicide-controversy-nic-sheff-writer
King, K., & Vidourek, R. (2012). Teen depression and suicide: effective prevention and intervention strategies. The Prevention Researcher, 15.
Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zichur, K. (2010). Social media and mobile internet use among teens and young adults. Millenials. Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2-5.
Why ’13 Reasons Why’ is Dangerous. (2017). Cnn.com. Retrieved on May 4, 2017 from http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/opinions/13-reasons-why-gets-it-wrong-henick-opinion/