What You Should Know About Squid Game (Because Your Kids Already Do)
The South Korean Netflix series, Squid Game, is officially the streaming giant’s biggest ever hit. Parents are concerned, however, that the adult-themed series is reaching children too. In this article, we’ll look at the series and its potential effect on children, as well as what parents can do when it comes to their kids being exposed to explicit content.
Squid Game and Its Effect on Children
Squid Game follows cash-strapped individuals as they compete in a secret tournament to win a life-changing amount of money. Each round of the contest is modelled on childhood games — but with a lethal twist: losing means the contestant dies. Due to its violence, sexual content, and explicit language, the series has a mature rating. Nonetheless, a worryingly large number of underage children have watched it or are otherwise being exposed to its content and themes — on TikTok for example, clips of the most violent scenes are being freely posted.
Copycat games on playgrounds are being reported across much of Europe and North America, with children as young as six reenacting the show’s brutal games and delivering physical punishments to the losers. For Halloween, the Squid Game outfits were in fact some of the most popular costumes requested by children.
Experts agree that children should not be watching the show. Across the nine episodes, scores of people are murdered, sexually assaulted, brutalized and have their organs harvested. The developing brain of a child is not equipped for such extreme content. Effects of exposure can include anxiety, trouble sleeping, stress, and copying harmful behavior (as we’ve seen on school playgrounds).
What Can Parents Do?
Firstly, if your children haven’t seen Squid Game yet, parents should explain why this should remain this case. There are plenty of other great shows to watch together instead. But if they have seen it, parents should help their children to process its content in a calm and educational manner — with a view to avoiding a similar occurrence in the future.
One way to help avoid future repeats is to try and keep up to date with pop culture — that way you’ll be in the know for when the next hit comes along. The best way to do this would be to simply chat with your kids. Often, with a phenomenon like Squid Game it’s not the thing itself which attracts children, but rather the social community that builds around it: those in (cool), and those out (uncool). That’s a social pressure that’s been around a long time — far predating the internet — and recalling it can help parents to understand their children on a different level.
Interested to do some research of your own but don’t know where to start? We have you covered there too — Common Sense Media is great, as are websites such as BuzzFeed and Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, the Digital Wellness Lab does some great work in digital parenting education. According to Polly Conway of Common Sense Media, research has shown that children whose parents actively manage their media consume less and make better decisions on their own.
A Toolkit for Parents
It’s often the case that parents feel they’re on their own when trying to guide their children through the digital and entertainment world. To meet this need, several tech and cybersecurity companies have been releasing family-oriented products in recent years. Check out the likes of: Google Family Link, Apple’s iOS Screen Time, and Norton Family.
For our money though, the most exciting product in this area is Trend Micro’s newly released Trend Micro Family, a simple, easy-install, complimentary solution that has linked apps for both parents and children — as well as a simple Chrome extension offering real-time content filtering. For the best results and experience, we recommend using all three options together — enabling parents to oversee everything on the one platform.
Trend Micro’s great content filter provides a safer online environment by blurring out explicit content such as nudity and violence with its immediate real-time AI, as well as preventing access to unsuitable and/or adult sites — while also blocking unwanted ads. Also included in Trend Micro Family are:
- Social Media Checker
- Personalized Settings
- Screen Time Summary
- Visibility Reporting
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