Squid Game

Netflix’s South Korean drama ‘Squid Game’ Image via Twitter @itz_Chris_Of

‘Squid Game’ no child’s play, warn experts as drama unfolds at schools

Red light: Experts warns against children watching the Netflix’s hit series ‘Squid Game’ as some of the violent games are popping up on playgrounds across the world.

Squid Game

Netflix’s South Korean drama ‘Squid Game’ Image via Twitter @itz_Chris_Of

Netflix’s South Korean drama Squid Game quickly became the streaming service’s biggest show ever. The show debuted on Friday 17 September and by 13 October it had reached 111 million fans.

Although the show sees hundreds of adults playing playground games for a chance to win millions of dollars, the games are certainly not appropriate for children considering their violent nature.

Some of these playground games are popping up in schools around the world leaving experts concerned.  

ALSO READ: ‘Squid Game’: The show becomes Netflix’s biggest ever launch hit


Hwang Dong-hyuk’s Squid Game is currently rated 16 by the Film Publication Board on Netflix, which means it is not appropriate for children. Children who have not watched the show have been exposed to Squid Game’s violent nature through TikTok and YouTube.

One of the most popular playground games in Squid Game is Red Light, Green Light, played in the beginning of the series.

In the game, players must run towards a gamemaster whose back is turned towards them. Players must freeze as soon as the gamemaster faces forward again and yells out “red light”.

In the series, players who are still moving even after the gamemaster turns their head are shot dead.

The Brussels Times reported that to mimic Red Light, Green Light, children at the municipal school of Erquelinnes Béguinage Hainaut in Belgium, beat up the loser of the game.

It is reported that several other schools in the United Kingdom have have also mimicked the honeycomb game where players must cut one of four shapes from a thin disc of honeycomb using a needle.

This has become a concern because children could burn themselves while attempting to make honeycomb with caramelised sugar. 


An English unitary authority, the Central Bedfordshire Council in the South of England  sent out a warning to parents to advise against children watching Squid Game

A portion of their message to parents read: “There have been some concerning reports recently about children and young people ‘playing’ Squid Game while at school.”

“We strongly advise that children should not watch Squid Game. The show is quite graphic with a lot of violent content.”

Damon Korb, a behavioral and developmental pediatrician noted that the images in Squid Game, are “gratuitously violent” saying they have the potential to “desensitize people to violence.”

“Children are particularly vulnerable,” said Korb. 

“Children have active imaginations, which they use creatively in play and to learn. Point them in a direction and they can develop an active fantasy world, making it easy for children to experience a pop culture phenomenon without seeing it firsthand.” 

Dr Sandra Wheately said Squid Game could encourage children to “stand by” rather than help if they see a peer who needs help.

ALSO READ: ‘Every day is survival’: ‘Squid Game’ actor can relate to Ali Abdul character


Psychologist and lecturer at Bristol University Dr Nilufar Ahmed, noted that it does become difficult to moderate what content children consume because most of the time, they will find a way. Dr Ahmed says research shows that children who are exposed to violent programmes sleep less well than others. 

“It does affect children’s sleep and it will impact everything else, it will impact their performance at school, how well they’re feeling, their interaction with their peers. So we do have research that shows that but it’s not the only thing. If you’re watching something violent it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll go out and be violent.”

“There is a correlation, children who watch violent programs may display more aggressive behaviours but that can be mediated by having conversations with children. Getting them to think more emphatically. So if this was real, if you saw your friend being hit, how would you feel about that? Creating more conversations.”