A pro-parent media watchdog is calling out Netflix for another show the group feels is targeting teens with explicit, graphic sexual content and images.
For the last couple of years, the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has drawn the ire of family advocacy groups who have described the series that glorifies suicide as "toxic for children." The American Family Association, for one, launched an online petition calling for the streaming giant to pull the first two seasons of the series from its offerings. Another Netflix series – an animated series titled Big Mouth – has been described as "outright pornographic" by some of the same groups.
Now comes a new series called Sex Education that originated in the UK and is now available for U.S audiences. Melissa Henson with the Parents Television Council says the content is very problematic.
"[It contains] very explicit sexual content, explicit nudity ... to an extent and degree that you don't even see on some of the pay cable channels in the U.S. like HBO and Cinemax," she begins. "And because it is set in high school, it is very attractive to teenagers."
Part of the problem, according to Henson, is that many parents turn to Netflix to avoid the risk of unwanted exposure to such content that those pay channels are known for. Those same parents, she laments, are either "unaware of or underestimate" the risks and downsides this new series brings to their teens.
"It's not a program that's going to interest adults for the most part," she tells OneNewsNow. "This is going to be something that teenagers are going to try to get away with watching, most likely outside of the purview of their parents."
Henson's group has asked Netflix leader Reed Hastings how he can he justify targeting kids with this kind of content. According to PTC, his attitude is simply If you don't like it, you don't have to watch it. But that answer isn't good enough for Henson.
"He knows that these shows can be streamed on kids' smartphones, tablets, iPads, laptop computers – there are a lot of ways for kids to access this content – and he's delivering really irresponsible content to very impressionable teenagers," says the PTC spokeswoman.
In an article explaining her concern about the series, Henson describes it as follows:
"If ever a series was designed purely to appeal to the prurient interests of the viewers, this is it. If ever a series was produced for nothing but shock-value, this is it. If ever a series was without any redeeming value, this is it ... [T]here's no getting around the fact that it's really just a teen-targeted vehicle for nudity and explicit sexual content."
It's time for Netflix to do better, she states.
Caution: Henson's article contains graphic descriptions that some may find offensive.