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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Netflix, 13 Reasons Why, and Trigger Warnings.

Firstly, I have to say that I haven't seen 13 Reasons Why, and don't plan to either. So there are no spoilers in this post.

In response to mental health concerns over 13 Reasons Why, Netflix has recently added additional warnings for viewers. In the media, this has been widely reported as Netflix adding 'trigger warnings' for 13 Reasons Why.

Which is so, so wrong.

Television networks displaying adequate warnings about potentially offensive content is nothing new. Netflix is not a television channel, but it provides a similar service, so it wouldn't be unreasonable that Netflix reacts to feedback and puts in appropriate warnings. It is just what you would expect of a responsible media company.

But why call them 'trigger warnings'? Why confuse a very traditional and uncontroversial practice with a new and controversial one? From what I understand, the new warnings are as well justified as any similar warnings in television history. Calling them trigger warnings only serves to trivialize them. Some people (myself included) don't believe in trigger warnings and will ignore anything that is labelled a trigger warning.

For the sake of people's mental health, please don't call everything a 'trigger warning'. It sounds too optional.