Squid Game is officially Netflix’s most streamed series ever. The South Korean production features characters competing in a series of games where failure results in death. Games played will be familiar to young people including Red light – Green Light, Tug-of-War and Marbles. Characters are systematically tortured and killed for the sadistic pleasure of a game master. Adults have sex, and there are threats of sexual violence: women are grabbed by the hair and beaten. Themes concerning the highs one gets from gambling, winning, or conning money are also a focus.
How might young people come across Squid Game content?
- Squid Game is streamed via Netflix and [currently] in the Top 10 most popular series in Search.
- You can view clips, including preview and selected scene reviews via YouTube.
- Short form video creations from users on Social Media (TikTok & Instagram).
- Squid Game Halloween costumes are set to be the biggest trend for 2021.
- Replicated themes in games including Roblox.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
It’s inevitable that young people will come to learn of Squid Game. They may have come across it on Netflix or be encouraged to view the series by friends.
PLAN a conversation with your children to find out what they already know about the series, ask if they have seen any of the content and provide time and space to unpack how it has made them feel.
PREVENT access through using parental controls in Netflix to ensure Squid Game series does not appear on your profile. Use the primary account to ensure additional profiles cannot be created without the parental code.
PROTECT them by providing strategies for how they can respond to a friend who may try to expose them to the content or concepts. Keep an eye on the trend, monitor the situation, and discuss the topic with other parents in your child’s friendship circle(s).
WHAT CAN EDUCATORS DO?
Reports from schools across the world are indicating young people are mimicking Squid Game style game play in the school yard.
Games such as Red Light, Green Light (similar to ‘What’s The Time Mr Wolf?’), Tug-of-War or Marbles flow in and out as school yard trends over the years. These games are traditionally a fun and fantastic way for young people to develop social skills such resilience and collaboration.
However, the consequences of losing ‘Squid Game style’ is for players to be violently killed. This language and role-play behaviour can be harmful. Not to mention inappropriate for a school setting.
Squid Game trends to have on your radar:
- Red Light, Green Light
- Dalgona – removing tricky shapes from flat Honeycomb
CONVERSATION STARTERS FOR BOTH PARENTS AND EDUCATORS
- Why do you think Squid Games isn’t safe for kids to watch?
- Who could you talk to if you see something, or someone shows you something that makes you feel uncomfortable online?
- What can you say to someone who offers to show you something scary online?
- If a friend asks you to play a Squid Game style game, what could go wrong?
- What can you do if you feel uncomfortable playing a Squid Game style game?
- Why aren’t violent games in line with our school values?
OTHER RESOURCES & GUIDES:
- Create your Family Digital Use Guidelines (Template)
- Cyber Safety and Digital Well-being Conversations Checklist
- How to set up Parental Controls on Netflix & restricting title search
- Start the conversation with Emotions Cards Sets
- Family Workshops and Parent Webinars
- Netflix Cartoons Too Crass for Kids
Author: Trent Ray (Co-Founder & Educator, Cyber Safety Project)