head of school'S Blog
13 Reasons Why and Other Media
Normally, I would not write a blog post giving parenting advice to the parents at The King's Academy. Parents who send their students to Christian schools tend to be the type that keep current on trends, movies, and other media. However, this particular television series, and its potential impact on teens, has prompted me to write this piece. (Note: Reading reviews is an important step any time you question a book, a movie, an app, a video game - not just for this particular film.)
13 Reasons Why is a television series about a teenage girl who is bullied at school, is raped, and eventually commits suicide. (Currently, it is being shown on Netflix.) All of the topics that are raised by the protagonist in this series are worthy of discussion. However, that does not mean that I would endorse the show for my own daughter to watch; in fact, I do not endorse it for any TKA students. The following is a list of reasons why I would encourage every parent to think twice before letting their student watch this series:
1. The rating on this series is TV Mature. It involves some very disturbing events including rape and suicide. The rating by IMDb calls several episodes, "TRIGGERING," INCREDIBLY TRIGGERING," and "EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE: BE PREPARED."
2. The themes in this series are very adult in nature. It is the parent's job to have these discussions with their teens, not a movie.
3. The series can give the wrong impression on suicide. Suicide is rarely related to one incident in a person's life but rather a culmination of many events. This film could unintentionally glorify the act of suicide and encourage others to do the same.
4. Students do not need to see a rape in action to know it is wrong, just as they do not need to see a murder to know it is wrong. This series is graphic and shows a prolonged rape scene.
Parenting is never easy, and saying "no" to certain videos, video games, movies, and other things your children will ask to do is difficult. But many times, it is the right thing to do. I believe this is one of those cases.
I would encourage any parent to read the reviews (linked here is one for this movie from a good resource, commonsensemedia.org) and preview it first before allowing their teenager to watch. The topics in this film are worthy of discussion. In my opinion, parents can have these discussions with their children without having to watch this film. As the parent, it's your decision. The school cannot dictate morality, but we can inform parents so they are better prepared to have these types of conversations with their students.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
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