Early warnings about Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” glorifying teen suicides might be valid after a new study found suicides among America’s youth spiked nearly a third shortly after the show first aired.
Research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry said there was nearly a 30% increase in suicide among America’s youth — ages 10-17 — in the month that followed the show’s first episode, which aired in March 2017.
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The show, which chronicles a teenage girl’s suicide, initially sparked fear shortly after it made its debut. The National Association of School Psychologists warned of the negative effects of the show, claiming the show “may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by characters and/or develop revenge fantasies.”
“The release of “13 Reasons Why” was associated with a significant increase in monthly suicide rates among U.S. youth aged 10 to 17 years. Caution regarding the exposure of children and adolescents to the series is warranted,” the study’s authors claim.
Researchers found the number of suicides in April 2017 was much higher than any month over the five-year span that was examined in the study. The rate of suicides among America’s ages 10 to 17 rose to 28.9%, while there were 195 more youth suicides in the nine months following the show’s release than expected.
Netflix included warnings in some episodes and promoted suicide awareness throughout the series. They also started a website which offered help to those thinking about suicide.
A spokesperson for the streaming giant released a statement to The Associated Press saying Netflix was looking into the study and research.
The spokesperson also pointed toward another recent study, published by University of Pennsylvania researchers last week, which conflicted the new findings and found that young adults between ages 18-29 who viewed the entirety of the show’s second season “reported declines in suicide ideation and self-harm relative to those who did not watch the show at all.”
The third season is currently in production and expected to release later this year.
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