Netflix’s Squid Gamemay just be the best thing to be released on our screens this year. But, despite the series being full of nostalgic childhood games, the series isn’t exactly safe for children.
The South Korean dystopian thriller sees 456 debt-plagued, and desperate people go head to head for a massive cash prize. The participants all compete in games, reminiscent of childhood playground antics, but with a bit of a twist. The twist being that well… you probably already know what the twist is, but if you don’t, we won’t ruin it here.
Regardless, the show does come with a high dose of violence that teachers are afraid young students are recreating.
Children are recreating the violence on the playground
John Bramston Primary School in Ilford has already sent home letters to parents, urging them not to let their children watch the show after students have been recreating the Squid Games, pretending to shoot each other when they’re ‘eliminated.’
The letter stated: ‘Dear Parents/Carers, It has come to our attention that a number of our children are watching Squid Game on Netflix.’
We have noticed an increased number of children starting to play their own versions of this game in the playground - which in turn is causing conflict within friendship groups.
The letter continued: ‘Children who are watching this are being exposed to graphic, realistic scenes of violence and sadly, children are acting out this behaviours in the playground, which will not be TOLERATED.’
I would like to make you aware that this programme is rated a 15 for a reason.
You might think a little finger-guns hardly hurt anyone; some could say they’re not an uncommon feature in some childhood games. However, it doesn’t always stop with finger-guns. One school in Belgium recently reported that children were taking ‘eliminations’ much too far.
The Municipal School of Erquelinnes Béguinage Hainaut posted a PSA on Facebook, explaining that young students were recreating Red Light, Green Light, but anyone who fails the seemingly simple game gets punched.
Sandown School in Deal, Kent also issued extra lessons on violence and online harm in response to Squid Games’ popularity. Meanwhile, another school in Deal, Goodwin Academy, also sent letters home to parents, written by the show’s director Hwang Dong-hyuk.
Should children be allowed to watch Squid Game?
Squid Game is recommended for those 15 and older, with Netflix also giving a series of content warnings. However, what children watch is often largely left to the parents. John Jolly, CEO of Parentkind, a charity network of PTA fundraisers in the UK, explained:
Where there are safeguarding concerns, especially when children younger than the 15 rating are watching the show at home, parents need to exercise judgement as to whether or not it’s suitable for their child.
‘They should use parental supervision to decide, just as they should when it comes to any entertainment containing adult themes that their child wishes to see.’