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Trigger Warnings for books

Kaili

Should Trigger Warnings be included?

[lwptoc]

Hey everyone and welcome to Owl Book World! Today I wanted to talk about trigger warnings. What are trigger warnings? Are they spoilers? And what are the benefits/disadvantages of having them? Trigger warnings seem to be a pretty heated discussion with readers, especially those who like to read horror books. I’ve probably seen more people who are against trigger warnings than those who are for them. Even though I understand why I also want to talk about why they can be beneficial.

A lot of people seem to think that trigger warnings are spoilers and that they seem to give away too much. I do kind of get that and I understand why some people wouldn’t want to see them. But I can also see the perks of it especially when readers have the opportunity to decide if they want to read it or not.

trigger warningTrigger Warning definition

Trigger warning is a pretty self explanatory term. It’s a way to warn readers of potential harmful elements in the book. It can be helpful if there’s rape or an eating disorder. Why? A rape victim probably doesn’t want to read about another victim. On top of that the author could potentially not have done the character or story justice. Same goes with an eating disorder. Reading about it could possibly trigger that person to relapse or get worse depending on where they stand. On top of that there’s a possibility that the author could have harmful things in the story line that they don’t realize is harmful. To those who are completely against them probably don’t realize the damage it can do if certain things are detailed.

Trigger Warnings List

  • Rape/sexual assault
  • Abuse
  • Child abuse/pedophilia
  • Animal cruelty
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide
  • incest
  • Miscarriages/Abortion

Pros of trigger warnings

  • Used as a warning
  • Can help the reader put their guard up.

Cons of trigger warnings

  • Potential spoiler
  • Might push the reader away when the trigger isn’t all that bad or detailed.

Trigger warningAre Trigger Warnings spoilers?

This is a hard question to answer. I think it partly depends on how the information is given. There’s a difference between warning someone and basically telling them the whole story.

What if the trigger warning is what the whole story is about?

I kind of feel like if the trigger warning is the main focus of the book then it isn’t exactly a spoiler. That’s because it’ll probably be mentioned in the summary. As long as it’s not stated what happens to the character in the end then this isn’t exactly harmful.

This is something I think a lot of readers look at differently, but I have never seen a problem with it. I don’t see a problem as long as the trigger warning says rape or abuse and doesn’t really put anymore detail in it.


How do you guys feel about trigger warnings? Do you feel like they are spoilers? I feel like they would have perks but maybe have it at the beginning of the book on it’s own page. This way readers can decide if they want to read it or not.

If you enjoy this post then make sure to check out my list of YA horror books.

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2 thoughts on “Trigger Warnings for books

  1. Kimberly

    Great post. I always put trigger warnings on my reviews. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I want to know that a book contains pedophilia. That doesn’t mean that I won’t read the book, only that I know to look for it and prepare myself. There are particular times that I am more able to deal with it than others. Thank you for pointing this out.

    1. Kaili

      I wish more people felt this way about trigger warnings. I get that the author isn’t responsible for our triggers but it would be nice to be able to prepare ourselves.

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