It Takes a Village…

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the book and the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.” This week our school sent us a letter regarding the content of this show. They were concerned about how teens might be reacting to the strong issues the show addresses.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by [Asher, Jay]

Now, I haven’t read the book or watched the series. I’ve got to find a time when my boys aren’t around to watch it, and right now they’re around a lot. I like that. 🙂 So I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

I agree with the concerns of the school district. The book and the show deal with a lot of teen issues like rape, slut-shaming, and suicide. The letter I received voiced the concern that the issues the show addressed might be possible triggers for some teens who are struggling with these problems themselves.

The school did a great service to bring these concerns to the attention of the parents. I was impressed the district was so in tune with what is happening among the student body. I work in the library and I know that book has been very popular.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

So the question arises, who is responsible for the message our kids receive, is it the author of the book? The producers of the show? The school district? Or the Parents? How about when the kids take this behavior to social media, who’s responsible then? My take on the whole situation is that we all are. Remember that old saying it takes a village to raise a child? This particular example is what the quote is talking about.

Our responsibility as authors is to make sure our stories are authentic and our message is a positive one. I feel, even though I haven’t read the book yet, that when Jay Asher wrote the story, he was attempting to show what could happen to a teen who was experiencing these problems. So teens who were slut-shaming or bullying would know the consequences of their actions before it was too late. It was a cautionary tale. Kudos to the author for sending such a powerful message.

There are differences between the show and the book, mainly for dramatic effect. The show is much longer than the book and the reason is because the producers wanted to make thirteen episodes to make the mini-series a two week event. Because of this, they had to make changes to the story itself. The administrators at the school were concerned the show presented suicide as a viable option to solving the issues in the story, and again, the possibility of this show as a trigger for teens experiencing some of the issues.

Suicide is never an option. We need to communicate with our kids and tell them help is available. There are professionals who can help them deal with their strong emotions and there are authority figures who can step in if they’re being shamed in any way. This is where the school took responsibility and warned the parents. Now the responsibility falls on the parents to get involved and either watch or read the book with their child and have an open dialogue with them. Could the producers of the series have done a better job of showing how Hannah could’ve gotten help? Probably. And I feel they should have. I’ve heard the show presented suicide as a viable option and like I said before, suicide is never an option.

But what happens when the teens take this behavior to social media? Who’s the authority there? Is it the school’s responsibility to make sure students behave? In my opinion, social media is out of the school’s control. The school can’t police all their students’ social media accounts.

Photo credit: Mark Kens via Visual Hunt / CC BY

How about the parents. Yeah. I agree in a perfect world, the parents are responsible for their child’s behavior, but we all know our world is far from perfect, and most kids don’t tell their parents when they’re going through something like slut-shaming. So how do we nip this behavior in the bud before it reaches that critical point?

We need the creators of these social media sites to be vigilant and look for this type of behavior among their users. They’re the only ones who can do this. And they need to take a strong stance against this behavior. Accounts should be suspended or deleted as soon as bullying appears. I know they can’t catch everyone, but they may be able to save a life.

I know some students will be up in arms about privacy issues and freedom of speech. But social media has never been private and freedom of speech doesn’t apply to bullying. We as parents need to teach our kids this behavior is never okay. We have to make sure we don’t inadvertently model this behavior in our own lives as well. So ultimately, every single one of us is responsible and it really does take a village to raise a child.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

 

 

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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15 Responses to It Takes a Village…

  1. Ritu says:

    Kudos to your childrens school for bringing this to your attention!

  2. Stacey says:

    I haven’t read the book, but I have watched the show. I was sceptical about something which may be seen to glamourise teen suicide and angst, but I actually thought it was very well done. There is also an accompanying documentary where the makers talk about why they made certain artistic decisions. Obviously everyone reacts to things in different ways, but I felt the show demonstrated how suicide causes more problems than it solved and how important it is that sufferers ask for help, and people listen and watch for signs that help is needed. More importantly than anything I think the book and show is opening discussion around some difficult issues which need to be spoken about. As a mother of two young children, I hope I can help them to be resilient to the issues they might face and let them know there is always help available if they need it. Thanks for writing a great post to keep the conversation going!

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad to hear something positive about the show and I think it’s awesome there’s a documentary that goes along with it. Kudos to the shows producers and thanks for sharing the information with me. 🙂

  3. noellekelly says:

    It’s so great that the school is raising these things as issues and not ignoring it. I read the book and thought there was a powerful message in it. I watched two episodes of the series and I’m not sure it translated as well. But it’s getting people talking about suicide and the dark side of social media, which can only be a good thing

  4. thebeasley says:

    Great post and thoroughly agree with the quote “it takes a village to raise a child”

  5. I had the same thoughts as I watched the first few episodes. I appreciate your sentiments that the underlying objective in the novella may have been to raise awareness and send a powerful warning to prevent further damage, but what I got from watching several episodes was concern that this was a minefield of triggers for at-risk youth.
    I agree, it takes a village to proactively counteract this kind of message, which is powerful in its subtlety.

    • lisaorchard1 says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Gabe. I appreciate it. It sounds like we’re on the same page on this one! 🙂

  6. The Hook says:

    This show is ridiculously-polarizing, isn’t it?

    • lisaorchard1 says:

      I haven’t watched it yet. I’m waiting to watch it when my kidlets aren’t around, but I’ve heard that it is. Many people were afraid that it would illustrate to kids that suicide is a viable option. Boy, the things kids have to deal with these days. I’m glad I’m not a teen right now, that’s for sure. 🙂

  7. lisaorchard1 says:

    Yes, Hook. We’re on the same page! Brilliant minds usually are! 😉

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