Following mixed feedback to the release of "13 Reasons Why," Netflix released a statement in April, citing a survey the streaming service conducted among parents. According to Netflix, the survey revealed that 80 percent of respondents said they have watched a show their teen watches just to feel closer to them.
Bridging the conversation gap
"While 56 percent of parents think it's tough to talk to teens, nearly all parents (93 percent) around the world feel that watching their TV shows will give them more to talk about and 78 percent of teens agree. Not only that, but watching your teen's shows every now and then inspires more than just small talk," Netflix said in the statement.
Additionally, when tackling tough conversations such as sex, bullying and stress, 79 percent of parents and 56 percent of teens agree that watching the same shows could help start a dialogue. More than 70 percent of teens agreed in the survey that having parents watch teens' favorite shows could help the adults better understand what's going on in their children's lives.
Sue Abderholden, National Alliance on Mental Illness-Minnesota executive director, said parents frequently ask about talking with their teens, especially about mental health.
"Talking about suicide does not lead to suicide," Abderholden said. "Talking about it helps people to know that it is safe to reach out."
Abderholden said car rides can be a wonderful place to have hard discussions with your teen.
"Your child is there with you and can't leave," she said. "You don't have to look at each other, but you are forced to be close."
Netflix provided conversation guideline links and other tools for parents in the wake of strong reactions to the "13 Reasons Why" series.
Abderholden advises parents and others to visit www.namihelps.org for information.
"We need to provide parents with tools about discussing mental illness," Abderholden said. "Especially if they have a young person that is vulnerable, parents need to know what to do."