13 Reasons Why

Recently Netflix released an original series titled “13 Reasons Why” and there has been all sorts of buzz about it ever since. I actually read the book the series is based on years ago and after watching the show I read the book again. I have read so many posts from educators about the dangers of this show.  Personally I think they are missing the point.  High school sucks and it has always sucked but with the advancement in technology it has gotten so much worse. Rumors can be spread over social networks now instead of just by people in person.  The anonymity that the Internet gives individuals has caused so much more drastic threats and bullying to occur. My old school district used to have a week dedicated to anti-bullying issues every year in November.  We had speakers that came and talked to the students and we did all sorts of activities designed to make them think about their online behavior. My current school district doesn’t do these types of things and I can definitely see the difference.  Teenagers are so susceptible to bullying through social media. As a teacher and a parent I think the issues raised in “13 Reasons Why” are important. So many parents don’t know their kids so they have no idea how their kids feel about anything. I’m not a perfect parent but I do try and know my kids, not just as my children but also as people. I try really hard to keep up with their friends, talk to them about stuff that is going on and above all pay attention.  Kids will never tell their parents everything but I think it is so important to do your best to stay an active participant in your kids’ lives. My daughter suffers from anxiety and luckily she talks to me about all sorts of things because we are really close. I’m honestly not sure how people survive not knowing what is going on with their kids. I think Netflix did a good releasing this show.  I know it deals with difficult subject matter but honestly we can’t put our heads in the sand. We can’t pretend that our children aren’t ever going to contemplate suicide as teenagers.  We have to beware of the signs and not get so wrapped up in our own lives that we miss something important. I remember contemplating suicide as a teenager when my parents were separated and I felt like my whole life was falling apart. I was lucky because I had amazing friends that were paying attention and they got me through an extremely difficult time in my life. We can’t always assume that our children are going to have that same type of support system within their friends so we have to be advocates for them. We have to make sure they never feel like they are in anything by themselves.

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