Should I Let My Child Watch “13 Reasons Why”?

Should I Let My Child Watch “13 Reasons Why”?

Heads up, parents! The Netflix hit “13 Reasons Why” season 2 premieres this Friday, May 18, 2018. 13 Reasons Why season 1 was a HEAVY drama that involved, and even showed shockingly graphic depictions of, teen suicide, rape, drinking/drug use, bullying and cyberbullying, among other things. Your kid may want to watch season 2, because they were hooked on the series last season or because “everyone else is watching it.”



The gist: GET AHEAD OF IT! Specifically,

  1. Prevent your kid from watching it before you do. In Netflix, go to Account > Parental Controls and set a passcode to prevent unauthorized viewing. Or, change the main Netflix password.
  2. Parents should binge watch both the past (if you haven’t already) and current season of 13 Reasons Why.
  3. Parents should then decide whether to let your particular kid watch, based on factors such as age, maturity, disposition, mental health, ability to separate fiction from reality, etc.
  4. If you let your student watch, do it with these two conditions: Condition 1: before watching season 2, parent and teen together watch season 1 “episode 14,” (where they interviewed psychologists, etc. Most people missed this segment, but it’s important; find it in the “trailers and more” section, titled “Beyond the Reasons”). Condition 2: After every episode or two, you have a mandatory parent-teen discussion about the topics. It can be as short as five minutes.


So, those are UpGo’s recommendations thus far, prior to the season 2 release, for parents asking, “Is 13 Reasons Why appropriate for my child?” or, “Is it safe to watch?” Only you can make that determination; if in doubt, let ’em pout. For more resources, check out the links at the bottom of this Common Sense Media blog post.

During season 1, Netflix was rightfully chastised for slinging the series out there without any guide rails. To their credit, they’ve invested to fill some gaps, by publishing a season one 13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide, and including PSAs and crisis support info with the season 2 episodes. We can only hope that in season 2 Netflix puts responsibility and reason before sensationalism and money.

Netflix 13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide

Netflix published a “13 Reasons Why Discussion Guide” sometime AFTER season 1 ran. Better late than never.

In a nutshell: parents — take action now. Watch 13 Reasons Why before your kid does. Only then can you make a thoughtful decision about what to do next.

Get the FREE UpGo Cyber Safety App to PREPARE your kids to better handle cyberbullying, sexting and online predators!