The second season '13 Reasons Why' is out on Netflix, and just like the first season, it doesn’t shy away from going to dark places and addressing issues that really make you think. The show tells the story of Hannah Baker’s tragic suicide, with the second season focusing on the fallout, and how the loss affected everyone around her.
'13 Reasons Why' teaches important lessons about the effects of bullying, friendship, and our responsibilities to those around us. While some mental health experts have expressed concerns about the graphic scenes, the show can start important discussions between parents and teenagers and make teens feel more comfortable about opening up and getting the help they need.
Here are 14 lessons that we learned from '13 Reasons Why':
1. Once rumors spread, they never really go away
Rumors have a nasty way of taking on a life of their own. Once they start, they spread like wildfire, getting twisted and distorted the further they spread. Worst of all, once the genie is out of the bottle, it can’t be put back inside.
2. Pictures can be used against you for the rest of your life
We’ve all heard the phrase “memories fade but pictures last forever,” But that’s not always a good thing, and smartphones haven't made it any better. Sexting is more common than parents realize. 15% of teens have sent sexual pictures of themselves to others, and once they’re out there, the consequences can last forever.
3. Nothing can stay hidden forever
Secrets never stay secrets for long. No matter what, the truth will come out. We all need to face the music eventually.
4. Teens don’t always understand why they do what they do
Teenage brains simply aren’t fully developed. Add that to the rush of hormones and the social pressures that are pulling them in fifteen different directions and it’s easy to understand how it can all get a bit confusing.
5. Kids are desperate to reach out and connect, but don’t always know how
They’re no different than the rest of us. We’re social animals and we need to connect and socialize with other people. The difference is that teens, especially those at risk, can struggle with reaching out and creating strong, meaningful friendships.
6. It’s possible to be a victim and a bully at the same time
Bullying isn’t always black and white. We’re used to putting things in neat little boxes; there’s the bully and the victim. But the data actually shows that victims of bullying are more likely to turn into bullies themselves. It’s a nasty loop that desperately needs to stop.
7. Kids feel like they’re the only ones feeling what they’re feeling
The teenage years are an emotionally charge time of our lives. Teens feel emotions more intensely than adults, and can start to believe that they’re the only one feeling what they’re feeling and that no one else can possibly understand what they’re going through.
8. You can’t always count on kids to come to you
Kids often choose not to tell their parents about problems they’re facing and try to handle them alone, but there are some problems that require parents involvement - which brings us to the next lesson.
9. Parents need to be more involved in their children’s lives
The only way that parents can guarantee their children’s safety is by being actively involved in their lives. It’s that simple. Kids might do whatever they can to protect themselves but that shouldn’t have to be their job. Parent’s have the responsibility to keep up with their kids’ lives to make sure that they’ll be there when their children need their protection.
10. Bullying isn’t always obvious
Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes kids get beat up, but a lot of the time it can just be something that someone said - and now that most kids have smartphones, bullying doesn’t stay in school. It follows them wherever they go and doesn’t give them a chance to escape.
11. Teens often cry out for help before doing anything drastic
In most cases, teens reach out for help before doing anything drastic, usually from a guidance to counselor or therapist. At the end of the day, it comes down to family to be the last line of defense and to ensure that troubled teens get the resources they need to get their lives back on track.
12. No matter how many reasons there are, there are always more reasons why not
Life can be tough. We all have times where we start feeling down and get overwhelmed, but it’s important to focus on the positive. It may be hard to believe at times, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It gets better. Always.
13. We can be better
It’s impossible to overstate the impact that a single kind word or smile can have on another person. We need to bring more positivity into the world. It’s what it all comes down to. We need to do better. We owe it to ourselves and each other.