What are the concerns around Netflix's Squid Game? | Internet Matters

What are the concerns around Netflix’s Squid Game?

Squid Game on screen

The new series is making headlines as the most viewed Netflix series of all time. However, reports of children imitating Squid Game are a source of concern for many.

What’s on the page

What is Squid Game?

Squid Game is a Netflix series from South Korea. It’s about a group of people brought to a secret location to play children’s games for a jackpot worth billions. When someone loses, the guards kill them.

Netflix gives the show a maturity rating of 15. It has graphic violence and injury along with depictions of suicide and sexual themes.

How do children under 15 know what it is?

Young people who use popular social media platforms may come across videos of others imitating Squid Game violence. Gory and explicit clips from the series or cartoon creations of scenes are added to these platforms. Some children may stumble across them accidentally.

Schools have reported children playing games seen in the series on the playground. This shows that the series is spreading through word of mouth too.

What is the Squid Game app?

Since the release of the Netflix series, multiple apps have started popping up in the iTunes and Google Play stores. Some of these apps have an age rating as low as 3, which means children of all ages can access them.

The apps generally all have a similar type of gameplay. Users are inserted into children’s games from the series and must compete with the same results for losing players.

What are the concerns?

The main concern is young children’s exposure to violence and other themes too old for them to understand. Schools have reported children playing the games depicted in the series. Those who lose the game are punched, pushed or tackled as a form of violent punishment.

Additionally, one of the most popular apps with over a million downloads on the Google Play store is is interrupted by ads and pop-ups. This promotes accidental clicks, which may lead to inappropriate site visits or in-app purchases.

What can parents do?

  • Have open conversations about the series and what they are seeing. Be clear about the risks of seeing inappropriate content. Encourage your child to make safer decisions online.
  • Make sure that the settings on apps your child uses are suitable for their age.
  • Update app store settings (Android, iOS) on your child’s devices.
  • If you watch the series, do so when your child is not able to watch with you.
  • Be actively aware of what your child watches and plays on their devices.
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