Squid Game: A Parent’s Guide

Popular Netflix Show Squid Game Is The Hottest Thing on TV Right Now. Should Your Children Watch It?

Squid Game is a Korean television show that became the biggest series launch ever for Netflix and has gotten a lot of attention since its release. You may have seen children dressed in the colorful uniforms of the participants of the titular game or in the garb of the masked enforcers this Halloween and wondered ‘what was that kid supposed to be?’. 

Social media and other outlets are flooded with clips, comments, memes, and other discussions about the show. It’s likely your child has encountered these memes and perhaps has even asked you to watch the show. Should they? Here’s what our parenting experts have to say. In a word, no. 

While the show is similar in theme and concept to the television show Survivor or the popular YA novel turned worldwide phenomenon The Hunger Games, Squid Game amps up the tension, gore, and explicit content. The show is violent and disturbing even for many adults.

The premise of Squid Game is that vulnerable participants are recruited to compete in a game with the potential of huge financial rewards to help them erase their current financial debts. What they aren’t told is there are sinister consequences involved in losing the game.  Familiar childhood playground games are utilized which may heighten the appeal for young children because they can relate to the games being played. 

Spoiler Alert

Losing participants in Squid Game are killed for losing or not placing high enough in the contests. The games and rules are randomized so success in one contest does not necessarily equate to success in the next. Viewing Squid Game can lead to fear, anxiety, and inappropriate behaviors in children who do not have the brain development or emotional intelligence to understand the layered dynamics that are occurring throughout. Unfortunately, your child may be begging you to watch the show because their friends/peers have seen it and are all talking about it at school or online. The reality is that kids may have secretly watched the show already. 

Talk To Your Kids About Squid Game and Make an Informed Decision

If you are considering allowing your child to watch The Squid Game, consider watching it first yourself.  Ask yourself if the show fits within your family values. You may determine that the show is not a fit and will choose to “hold the line” by not allowing your child to watch. 

If you find that your child has already watched The Squid Game, lean in with them and talk about it.  Open communication about the challenging messages the show sends and the disconnect with your family values can be impactful. Ask powerful questions about what they saw and what they thought about the content. Reinforce that this is fantasy content and should not inform their behavior on the playground, at home, in the classroom, or online. 

There have been reports of kids potentially reenacting The Squid Game contests with some inflicting violence on those who “lose”. This is unacceptable behavior and has led to schools banning costumes and intervening when necessary for the safety of the students. 

As you know, kids desperately want to fit in with their peers and this is currently one of the “cool” things to do.  Encourage your child(ren) to practice responding to their peers when this topic comes up.  Some kids may pretend to have seen it to fit in.  It’s up to you and your child to determine these steps to manage peer pressure. 

You are your child’s first and best teacher.  You have the most influence over their values and decision-making.  Lean in and make an informed decision about The Squid Game that you think is best for you and your family.

We’re Here For You

Want to talk to a Parent Coach about The Squid Game or other parenting challenges?  We are here for you and can schedule a meeting quickly and confidentially through a virtual connection and from the convenience of your own home.  Contact us –  www.beechacres.org.