The popularity of "Squid Game" on Netflix has surpassed all other TV shows on the platform, but some schools felt the need to warn parents after seeing students re-enact the violent games shown in the widely-watched TV show.
The Independent reported that officials of the John Bramston Primary School in Ilford in the U.K. have written parents their concerns about the children's exposure to the South Korean TV show on Netflix. The letter stated that the games copied from "Squid Game" have been causing conflicts in the playground.
The school reminded parents that the TV show is rated for viewing for kids above 15 years old. Thus, it is not appropriate for primary school children to be watching the series.
"Any child who mimics or demonstrates these behaviors, parents will be called upon and sanctions applied," the reminder further stated. "Please be aware of the dangers of this TV program for your children and reinforce positive behaviors."
Punches for Losers
In Belgium, kids had been doing versions of the "Squid Game" as well, especially the game "Red Light, Green Light," which was featured in the Netflix teasers and aired in the first episode. This game allows players to run to a target point when it's "green light," but players have to stop and stay still when it's "red light" or suffer the consequences.
On the show, those caught moving when it's red light are shot to death. The kids in Belgium, however, punch the losers.
Because of the punching, officials of the Municipal School of Erquelinnes Béguinage Hainaut posted a statement on social media to inform parents that some kids have been re-creating "Squid Games" in a violent way. According to Newsweek, the school's statement had been reposted more than 37,000 times.
School officials also asked the parents to be vigilant and stop their children from playing "Red Light, Green Light" in an "unhealthy and dangerous" manner. The school said they rely on the parents to impart to their kids the consequences of playing violently.
However, "Red Light, Green Light" is not new to many kids in Belgium and worldwide. For decades, this street game has been called by many names, depending on where they are. In Belgium, it is known as "Un, Deux, Trois, Piano," while other countries know it as "Statues," "Grandma's Footsteps," or "Peep Behind the Curtain."
Extra Lessons in Harm and Violence
A school in Kent had teachers giving extra lessons on harm and violence and the risk of watching dangerous content on television. A spokesperson told Mirror that this is their response to the popularity of the series. Parents have allegedly been posting on social media about getting letters from the schools to raise awareness about the children's media consumption.
In the U.S., the Parents Television and Media Council published an op-ed piece with some advice on how parents should supervise what their kids come across various platforms, especially where "Squid Game" content proliferate.
Melissa Henson, the organization's program director, said that Netflix is responsible as the gatekeeper that controls what content should be distributed to minors.
"Squid Game" centers on the story of 456 players who are knee-deep in debts. They were invited to play for billions of money on an exclusive island but later realized that the consequence of losing was death.
The show has been watched in over 90 countries by Netflix's over 82 million subscribers. It has reached no. 1 in the U.S. after four days of its release.
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