The hit Netflix series is inspiring kids to imitate the brutal games on the show, with predictably unpleasant results.
By Nathan Munn
October 13, 2021
Squid Game, the hit Netflix show that sees indebted adults play a series of violent and deadly kids’ games to pay off their debts, is inspiring children around the world to imitate the games, leading to unfortunate incidents of violence.
Reports from Belgium, the UK and elsewhere say that despite the show not being suitable for children, many youngsters below the recommended viewing age of 15 are reenacting the games played in the show, with painful results.
At the Erquelinnes Beguinage Hainaut school in Belgium, kids have been playing the Red Light, Green Light game, in which players have to run around during “green lights” and stop immediately for “red lights”. In their attempts to imitate Squid Game’s version of the game’s ending, in which losers are shot to death, children are reportedly beating each other up, to the dismay of teachers.
“Dear parents, you have probably already heard of the series Squid Game,” the Belgian school posted on Facebook on Tuesday. “In this series, characters are made to play children’s games and if they lose, they are eliminated… This series is forbidden to under 18 years old for its violent scenes!”
In the UK, at the Conyers School and Sixth Form in Yarm on Teesside, teachers delivered graphic warnings to parents about the show.
“The series… depicts sex scenes, nudity, extreme violence, self-harm, suicide, bad language,” the school’s warning on Facebook reads. “If they are not of the age to meet the certification, then they shouldn’t really be watching that series/film.”
The phenomenon is occurring in North America as well. A parent of an elementary-school age child in Quebec, Canada shared a message from their child’s school raising concerns about Squid Game with Covid Update:
Translated from French:
“Hello dear parents,” the message begins. “We are currently seeing that several students in the school play ‘Squid Game’ during recess. This is a series broadcast on Netflix in which there is a lot of violence and that several sites mention aimed at an audience of 15 years and over.
Obviously, we advised the students that this type of game would not be tolerated at school. I also appeal to you to have a discussion with your children about violence on television and the fact of not reproducing these actions. Thank you for your cooperation and have a nice day!”
The overall sentiment about Squid Game was captured in the Facebook post from the Belgian school.
“We [must remain] vigilant so that this unhealthy and dangerous game is stopped,” the post reads, before noting that kids are allowed to play the Squid Game, but not allowed to assault those who lose.