Netflix Has Added A Warning To The Stranger Things 4 Premiere Following The Uvalde School Shooting

In what is possibly the best decision Netflix has made recently, "Stranger Things" season 4 will include a content warning card before the first episode. The decision came in the wake of the unfathomable tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, after the lives of 19 elementary school students and two teachers were stolen at the hands of senseless gun violence. The opening scene was released by Netflix last Friday, which shows Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) back in a base similar to The Hawkins National Laboratory where she was raised to harness her psychokinetic and telepathic abilities, but surrounded by the dead and bloodied bodies of other children like her. The scene was publicly available prior to the shooting, but the warning card was wisely added due to the proximity of the season's release date and the real-life tragedy. 

The opening card before "Stranger Things" plays will read the following message.

We filmed this season of "Stranger Things" a year ago. But given the recent tragic shooting at a school in Texas, viewers may find the opening scene of episode 1 distressing. We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable violence, and our hearts go out to every family mourning a loved one.

The message will show before the third season recap that will auto-play at the start of the season 4 premiere for viewers in the United States only because let us not forget that the United States is a total outlier when it comes to mass shootings. In addition to the card, Netflix has also modified the description for the premiere to indicate the content warning note of "Warning: Contains graphic violence involving children," in addition to "disturbing images" in the series' rating advisories.

Fight the system

The content warning is a thoughtful addition by the "Stranger Things" team, especially when one of the major themes throughout the series has been to staunchly criticize the U.S. government, the military-industrial complex, and the way children are used as pawns by the adults who are supposed to be keeping them safe from harm. El/Eleven/Jane was introduced to us as a child who discovered she had been kidnapped, experimented on, and raised in a secret laboratory. As we learn throughout the course of the seasons, the reason Jane was found with "011" tattooed on her wrist was that it was her designated test subject number. She is not the only one of her kind, and there are other children who were taken and forced to train to prepare for borderline militaristic situations without their consent.

As someone who has unfortunately had to facilitate Active Shooter/Run.Hide.Fight. Procedure drills to elementary schoolers, I can say with the utmost authority that "Stranger Things" is not far off in its messaging. From the start, the series has shown the detrimental effects of forcing children into traumatic situations in the way Eleven struggles to acclimate to the real world. This difficulty exists for so many kids across the country, but they aren't equipped with superhuman abilities to protect them. School children should be making friends, finding their way as humans in this world, and getting a quality education, not being forced into life or death situations because adults in power refuse to take any action that results in their safety.