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Squid Game: Children’s games but not a game for children

Unless you have been hiding under a rock it is hard not to know about the phenomena that is the Netflix series, Squid Game. It is currently Netflix’s most watched original series and has piqued the interest of not only adults but children too.

There is a lot of commentary on Squid Game and after watching the series myself my cyber safety brain was compelled to think about the suitability for children given it’s MA 15+ rating. Rikki Waller at MamaMia has summed it up best in Thinking of letting your kids watch Squid Game? Here’s what you need to know first.

Netflix Squid Game

Image: Netflix

Here are my takeaways:

  1. Just because it is based on a series of childhood games doesn’t mean it is suitable for children. The graphic and brutal violence coupled with the strong adult themes of would suggest that it is unsuitable for children under the age of 18 and the rating in my opinion should be R 18+ 
  2. The themes of deprivation of liberty and the rich taking advantage of the poor are strong. They certainly don’t support the ethos of free and inclusive country we all live in and well beyond concepts young children are familiar with
  3.  The show almost normalises violence, murder, torture, sex, addiction and self-harm themes that are too advanced for young children 
  4. You may be able to restrict your child from watching the series on Netflix however due to the popularity of the show many other digital platforms share Squid Game content which they can access on their iPad, the home computer or a smart phone
  5. Uncensored content from Squid Game is shared on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram platforms which all have a minimum age requirement of 13 years old, and it has been reported that Squid Game content has been found on You Tube Kids which is designed for children aged prep – 12 years old.
  6. Roblox is the perfect environment for a user created Squid Games spin off. Unless you have strong parental controls on your child’s Roblox account the fan made Squid Game’s can be easily accessed
  7. A worrying trend in schools of children changing the rules of the popular game red light, green light (once an innocent playground game) to include physical punishment for moving on the red light. I was at a school just yesterday where a teacher overheard grade one and two students talking about the red light, green light game that’s 6 and 7 year old children. 

As Rikki says, the content you allow your children to be exposed to is a parental decision only you can make.  At the very least it is a program in all its forms that should be approached with parental guidance to support them through themes that are unfamiliar with or may be scared by. For me Squid Game should be approached with caution, and it wouldn’t be something I would want my children watching.