I found this in my draft pile, so it's a bit less timely than it might have been (I'm often behind the times) ... however, the principle holds:
There's been a recent uproar about the Netflix show (and book), "13 Reasons Why." It is the story of Hannah, a highschool student who commits suicide after she records 13 audio tapes - each one devoted to an individual who contributed to her decision to die. There is a lot of debate in the media about whether this is a healthy show for adolescents to consume. Talk of "glorifying" suicide, and concerns about copycats abound. Other articles celebrate its merits, while acknowledging its flaws.
I see this show as a brilliant opportunity. There is plenty of evidence to tell us that a lot of good comes from parents curating and actively co-viewing what their kids are watching. My 13-year-old son invited me to watch with him. While I didn't see every episode, what I did see prompted some terrific conversations about mental health, bullying, sexual assault, communication and who to ask for help. We chose to not watch the graphic suicide scene, but did discuss the implications of Hannah's decision. We chatted about the role that friends have to look out for their friends, and when to turn to a trusted adult for help. I asked my son if any of his friends seemed depressed, or were engaging in self-harm.
The important piece here is that media is neither good nor bad in isolation. It is consumed in the context of relationships and other messages youth are getting from the world around them. I have spent many years fostering a relationship with my son in which he is willing to open up to me and ask for help when he needs it. We have identified other adults he can turn to if he doesn't want to talk to me.
This show, like others, could be potentially harmful/confusing/triggering for a young person who is watching it alone and struggling to make sense of it for themselves. The buzz around it is an excellent opportunity for parents and guardians to connect with their kids and tease open the lines of communication.