Parents' Guide to

13 Reasons Why

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Disturbing book adaptation sheds light on teen suicide.

TV Netflix Drama 2017
13 Reasons Why Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 201 parent reviews

age 18+

There are so many other ways to talk with your kids about hard stuff!

1) I am a licensed therapist and I work with families. This show is NOT worth it to "talk to your kids" and "expose" them to the "realities" of life. You don't have to "expose" kids to have conversations about suicide or rape. Focus on having a good relationship with your kids and you can simply talk about hard things, draw from real stories of suicide and rape survivors from excellent national and local organizations like Samaritans or RAIIN. There are so many other ways, videos, stories, podcasts, books, to have these conversations. This show is disturbing even for adults. 2) The best way to support your kids through hard things is to actually have a relationship with your child. This show will NOT bring you closer to your child. It will not help them if you are not able to talk to them about important things in life. This is something that you cultivate over many years and if you need help building a relationship with your kid, it is never too late--you can start today to heal yourself and to heal your family. A good relationship means that there is emotional and physical safety, predictability (kids know what to expect from you), consistency (you follow through) and you both enjoy spending time together (i.e. doing things with your child that your child enjoys). A relationship means you can problem-solve when issues come up instead of screaming, fighting or withdrawing. If you are a parent and you never got these things as a kid, please make a commitment to do your own emotional healing and work on your family's health. 3) Tell your kid they can choose to watch this show when they are an adult. When your kid is an adult, they will be able to make their own decisions around what to watch. Being critical of what to watch and why you watch it is really important. Watching something because "everyone else is doing it" or because you *think* it will help you talk about suicide or rape means you have work to do as a parent and as a family. 4) If you still decide to watch this show, please watch it with you kid. Do not let your kid watch it alone. Please pause the show and explain what is going on in the show. If you don't know how to talk about suicide, rape, drugs and drinking, please educate yourself by drawing from the research: SAMHSA, CDC, Suicide Prevention Line, RAIIN.

This title has:

Too much violence
16 people found this helpful.
age 18+


Attention parents and families, I know many people have said this show is either really bad or really good. I'm here to say that this show is both good and bad. I have seen this show mentally mess with people my daughters age, a girl commits suicide and decides to tell people why they were the reason she did it. Suicide is a very big issue that needs to be talked about but certainly not like this, learning about stuff like this through shows is the wrong way to do it. When kids watch these shows they get the wrong idea and they don't want to ask questions they just assume what they understand is correct. Especially (spoiler coming) at the end of the first season they show the audience how Hannah killed herself with all the blood and everything. That is not something that should have been put on tv, there are children watching this show and some who may be hiding a mental health issue. This show has shown the audience different ways as to how to kill yourself. Parents please sit down and talk to your child make sure they are okay. Let it be known to your children that they can talk to you about anything because mental health is a very big issue among kids. I advise you NOT to let your teens to watch this alone because I had watch this with my daughter and it was even too much for me. Another thing this show is not for the light hearted, if you or your child have experienced mental health issues do not watch it I had to skip over scenes that triggered me personally. This show is not an accurate portrayal of mental health, they glorify suicide too much. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem that many people make for themselves when they feel as if they are alone. In this show it was wrong for the producers to have Hannah's tapes haunt and torture people and drive them insane. It should have not been written where she blames others for her death because it is not always like that. Teenagers need to learn about suicide, rape, drugs, sex and etc. from parents and professionals, don't shelter your kids from these topics. But also don't let tv shows and movies be the ones to teach our children because who knows how they might perceive it.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
6 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (201 ):
Kids say (434 ):

This series isn't a pleasant watch by any means, but it does raise vital issues that can inspire valuable discussions between parents and teens. There are two disturbing forces at play throughout the story, the first being Hannah's downward spiral and the circumstances that instigated it. Serious matters like cyberbullying, body image, sexual assault, drug abuse, and gun violence are addressed unflinchingly; these scenes can be extremely graphic and difficult to watch for adults, let alone the targeted teen audience.

Hannah's choices are also complicated; it's clear that she blames others for her suicide. One wonders what, if anything, she hoped to gain by inflicting posthumous guilt on parties either actively engaged in tormenting her or innocently involved. As 13 Reasons Why is told from Clay's point of view, there's sympathy for him and others left behind, giving viewers a thought-provoking glimpse of what it's like to pick up the pieces after a suicide. In the second season, Clay's journey continues, and watching him and his friend group work through even more brutal challenges is nearly too much to bear, but there's also beauty in Clay's processing of grief and Jessica's courage to speak up about her sexual assault. A side plot about a potential school shooting is a bit sensationalized but also highlights the pain of loneliness. At-risk teens should take great care in choosing to watch this very graphic and frank series, but families with mature teens may find that it opens up doors to talk about some difficult subjects.

TV Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate