“13 Reasons Why” is a Netflix television series based on the 2007 novel “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. A high school student receives a box containing 13 cassette tapes recorded by his friend Hannah Baker, before she committed suicide. The show has been a critical and popular success (although the Times didn’t like it much) , and a second season is planned.
But Researcher John Ayers of San Diego State University has studied the results of the show on the culture by monitoring discussions of suicide on the internet following the debut of “13 Reasons Why.” The phrases “how to commit suicide” and “commit suicide” have experienced a 26% and 18% increase in searches. Ayers sees no other explanation for this other than the show. Searches for the phrase “suicide hotline number” also jumped, by 21%
Ayers now says, “Our worst fears were confirmed That is, thousands of people, thousands more, are searching online about ways to kill themselves.”
Ayers wants the first season to be re-edited to discourage suicidal behavior, and argues that the second season should be postponed. “Psychiatrists have expressed grave concerns because the show ignores the World Health Organization’s validated media guidelines for preventing suicide. The show’s staff instead continue to prefer their gut instincts,” Ayers says.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this head-scratcher…