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A million reasons why you shouldn’t let your kids watch ‘Squid Game’


Siren Pictures | Netflix

Cerith Gardiner - published on 11/03/21

Well maybe not a million, but we hope this will help you explain your position to your children, as well as to other parents.

There has been a lot of media coverage on the recent Netflix hit, Squid Game, and the impact it is having on our kids. So when I recently looked through a comment thread on a popular parenting site, I was horrified to read how parents are justifying their decision to let their kids — as young as 6 — watch the South Korean series.

While many of our readers have commented on our recent article about the potential damage of watching that kind of violence that they haven’t — and wouldn’t — watch the series, we wanted to share more reasons that parents should think twice about letting their children watch it so that you can stand your ground in the Squid Game debate, and maybe positively influence others.

I have watched every episode. As a parent, teacher, and writer, I wanted to have a thorough understanding of the series. The message of social inequality and morality is a powerful one and makes for compelling viewing. However, no child should be watching Squid Game, ever.

I hope my reasons below will help you to explain your reasons to your children if they feel the peer pressure to watch the show — and also aid you in discussing this with other parents.

1Well, it is violent!

The level of violence is shocking, especially because the violence increases throughout the series in a way that the viewer learns to almost normalize it. And that’s an adult’s impression. So imagine how a youngster watching the series might interpret what they see? Children don’t necessarily question the reasons why and pass straight to imitation, something the Pontifical Council for Social Communications points out in a document released in 1989.

But the issue of violence is about more than impressionable children being led to copy what they see on the screen. It’s also a problem of processing. Kids don’t process things in the same ways adults do. Sometimes the trauma of what they have seen plays on their minds and can manifest itself later on in all sorts of behavior: from nightmares, regression, and bed-wetting, to violence or aggression later on, as reported by the American Psychological Association.

2What about the innocence of childhood?

Kids should be allowed to be kids. Why expose them to worldly problems that they’ll have plenty of time to learn about throughout their adulthood? While adults can shrug things off and move on to the next series, kids can take things to a different level and soon it becomes a craze that gets played out in the schoolyard, or at parties and beyond, causing a myriad of problems.

3The gratuitous sex scenes

I read some parents saying that they let their kids watch the show and covered their eyes when it got too violent. I’m hoping this extended to some of the sex scenes that were also played out — especially when a female character used sex as a weapon.

No matter how much eye-covering goes on, it’s hard to unhear some of the sounds in the violent and sexual scenes — noises you really don’t want your kids hearing!

4It’s TV-MA (mature audience) rated for a reason

When a body of professionals deems a show unsuitable for a young audience, the decision is not taken lightly. By placing a show, or a film, in the adult sphere it is narrowing down the audience pretty substantially. Therefore, if Squid Game is not recommended for kids, please listen to those who’ve taken the time to analyze the content.

This is something you can explain to your child, and explain to them that these rules are there to protect them. Unfortunately kids do have a habit of bending these rules, especially where peer pressure is involved, and their curiosity is piqued. The issue is that some parents are allowing their kids to watch the show, and if your child is at their house, they may end up watching it.

You need to make it very clear to your child that you don’t want them to watch the series, explaining your concerns. You should also make this clear to the parents of any of your children’s friends who may be allowing their children to watch it.

It’s difficult to monitor what your children are accessing, especially as they get older, so the best thing you can do is to be ready to have a conversation about the series. Also, make sure your parental controls are still working — kids have skillful ways of unblocking them these days!

And don’t hesitate to share your views with other parents — you can be part of some positive peer pressure that helps them think more carefully about saying yes to this show for their kids.

ChildrenMental HealthTelevision
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