‘13 Reasons Why’ Scared The Shit Out Of Me — It Should Scare You Too
Ijeoma Oluo

Stories don’t kill people. People do.

While I totally get why a story or TV show may push a suicidal teen over the edge, the teenager has to already be at the edge to jump off. I have never met a normal, healthy teen who watched something or played a video game and then suddenly became a murderer or a suicide victim. These things take time to build. It takes a lot to commit suicide, even for those with less-than-fully developed brains, because the instinct to live is just that strong. I was a suicidal teen once. One half-hearted attempt was enough for me to realize I’d never do something that reckless again. Now, I’m glad your son had someone to talk to about this show — this show was anathema 20 years ago when I was a teen; no one would have even considered making such a show because they thought adult TV shows, violent video games and explicit music would suddenly make evil people out of angelic boys and girls. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Boys and girls are not angelic and a “bad” influence will not corrupt a teen unless there are a lot of bad factors, like bad parents, bad schools, bad neighborhoods, etc. Maybe when I am a parent, I will regain a naivete about my innocent son or daughter, but even though I am in my thirties my memories of my teens are pretty fresh. Your son will be all right. Encourage him to study psychology and get a master’s in counseling. Turn his tragedy into a lifeline for troubled children and adolescents. What you see as something that should scare the sh!t out of parents may actually be the point when your son says, “I actually know what I want to be when I grow up — and I’m so glad I watched this TV series.”