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10 Conversations to Have with Your Teens After "13 Reasons Why" (Season 2)

With more challenging content comes more opportunities for families to talk.

The second season of 13 Reasons Why is nearly as packed with controversial content as its popular first season. As the Liberty High kids cope with life in the aftermath of Hannah Baker's suicide, they also have a lot coming up in their future: a major trial, a potential school shooting, hard-drug abuse, and more blackmail, drama, and mystery. (Parents can also be aware that Netflix account holders are able to set a PIN code to this or any show that will be required before others can view.) Teens and parents who watch the show together can talk about any number of issues the show addresses; here are some questions to help get the conversation started: 

  • Clay gets a semicolon tattoo to honor Hannah's memory. This is based on a real-life suicide-prevention movement, Project Semicolon, that raises awareness and offers resources. What are other ways people honor those they've lost? How do you think something like this could help people process grief?
  • Families can talk about Tyler's journey. His anger issues led him to make a lot of bad choices, which nearly ended in many people's deaths by gun violence. How could people around him have supported him better? How can you tell when someone is suffering and needs your help?
  • The power of friendship is a theme that runs strongly through Season 2. How have Clay and his group of friends become closer? Do you have friends you'd make sacrifices for? How does the group compassionately support each other during hard times?
  • Bullying is still a major part of this series: Threats, physical violence, and other tactics are used to hurt characters and suppress information. Families can talk about bullying in school, how to combat it, and how to make sure you're not bullying anyone else. 
  • A few major characters finally speak truths they've been holding in for a long time. How does it feel to be honest? How can you support others who are brave enough to tell their stories? 
  • A character struggles with drug addiction this season. How do his friends respond? Are there better ways to help people dealing with addiction? 
  • Liberty High students are taught about consent. What is it? Why is it important for teens to have a good understanding of the concept? 
  • Families can talk about therapy and PTSD. Only one of the Liberty High students is shown going to therapy or talking to professionals about the pain they've experienced. Do you think this might help others? Why, or why not? Do you think there's a stigma regarding this kind of help? 
  • Self-harm, particularly in the form of cutting, is addressed in this season. Families can learn the signs and know this is a treatable issue with the help of therapy, medication, or both. 
  • Another violent rape scene occurs in Season 2, this time of a male character. After all the controversy over Season 1, why do you think the creators included this scene? Do you think this kind of realism is necessary for media to make an impact? Why, or why not? 
Polly Conway
As Common Sense Media's Senior TV Editor, Polly is responsible for championing the latest and greatest in TV for kids and families. She's an expert in the realm of shows that are created for (and/or appeal to -- not always the same thing!) kids, tweens, and teens, with a particular focus on educational television for young kids. An enthusiastic advocate for positive representation of girls and women in media, she also has her finger on the pulse of pop culture and speaks to the press regularly about the good and bad of kids' TV (highlights include a chat with the legendary Weird Al!). Before coming to Common Sense, Polly spent time developing her own writing career and served as an educator in Oakland's diverse schools. Both helped her discover a deep desire to give kids the best possible media experiences. Additionally, her BA in Acting from San Francisco State and MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts have given her a unique understanding of how great media is created, and she's always happy to discuss any episode of her #1 whole-family TV pick, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Email Polly at [email protected] or find her on Twitter.