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Copycats Already? '13 Reasons Why' Could Pose a Danger to Your Child

05-05-2017
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"13 Reasons Why" is the new Netflix series that has mental health experts and educators on high alert. 

It tells the story of a high school student who commits suicide and the reasons why she did it.

Mental health experts have concerns about the show and are encouraging parents to be on alert about the series. 

The producer for the show, famous actress and singer Selena Gomez, stands by her show despite the warnings. 

She says kids have to see things like this show to actually understand it, arguing that they need to be "frightened."

Media critic Dr. Ted Baehr with Movieguide weighed in on this issue with CBN News. 

He says Gomez is wrong and that suicide has increased for some groups since the show. 

"Just because you watch violence doesn't mean you get it out of your system," he said. 

He adds that seven percent actually want to copy the violence, and others want to see more of it, while some are becoming desensitized to it. 

"This is not for young children, and it's probably not for teenagers," he says. 

Baehr also calls the show self-destructive and counterproductive in every sense. He adds that it can affect any age.

"We understand suicides occur, but by focusing on suicide, those people who are susceptible are more likely to copy it, and the susceptibility doesn't go away," Baehr said. 

He also explains a plot device versus reality that can affect a child's thinking. 

"Children go through different stages of cognitive development... the youngest age, the imagination stage from three to seven, confuse fact and fiction," he said. 

"The kids in the imagination stage carry these fears throughout their life. You don't want that," he added. 

He says the next stage is the concrete stage and that stage is very vulnerable to being a part of the crowd, team or being the bully. 

After the concrete stage comes the self-reflection stage, which Baehr says is the time in a teen's life where embarrassing moments can affect them. 

He emphasizes that kids should not confuse what they are watching with what their own problems are in their own lives. 

For more information, you can visit movieguide.org.

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