Will Netflix Take Suicides Seriously? PTC Calls on Netflix to Cease Distribution of ’13 Reasons Why’ Following Shocking New Study of Child Suicide Increase

Written by PTC | Published April 30, 2019

LOS ANGELES (April 30, 2019) – The Parents Television Council called the new research finding that suicides committed by children ages 10 to 17 increased in the month after the release of Netflix’s teen-suicide drama, “13 Reasons Why,” “disturbing,” and called once again on Netflix to cease distribution of the show.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “The Netflix show ‘13 Reasons Why’ was associated with a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among U.S. youth ages 10-17 in the month (April 2017) following the shows release, after accounting for ongoing trends in suicide rates, according to a study published today in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The findings highlight the necessity of using best practices when portraying suicide in popular entertainment and in the media. The study was conducted by researchers at several universities, hospitals, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIMH also funded the study.”

“This study’s findings are disturbing and should be taken seriously by Netflix. Any other product in the stream of commerce that was linked to increased suicide of children would be pulled from the market. No responsible, publicly-traded, corporation would knowingly continue to distribute such a product. We will see to it that the financial markets that Netflix is relying upon to fund its $2 billion of new debt are aware of what their dollars will be supporting,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“While Netflix may try to justify its program by pointing to other research released last week that found that the suicide risk of adults ages 18-29 who watched ’13 Reasons Why’ decreased after watching the second season of the show, the fact of the matter is that these two studies are comparing two different age groups with two different maturity levels. They are not the same.

“Netflix has shown that it can make changes to its programming with its recent decision to remove real-life train wreck footage from its ‘Bird Box’ film out of concern for viewers. Netflix can and must take responsibility for the impact ’13 Reasons Why’ can have on viewers – and in particular, on the children and teens to whom Netflix markets this program.”

The Parents Television Council, other pro-family organizations, suicide prevention experts, members of the medical community, members of the academic community, schools all over the U.S., millions of parents, and others, have spoken publicly about their concerns over the potentially harmful impact of the show on children, and have called on Netflix to remove the program.

The Parents Television Council has also called on the company to implement a pricing structure that allows Netflix subscribers to opt-out of receiving and paying for sexually explicit, graphically violent, and harshly profane programming.

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