An English council has urged parents not to allow their children to watch the hit Netflix show Squid Games due to its graphic nature and the amount of violent content.
Central Bedfordshire council’s education safeguarding team sent an email to parents and guardians in the authority area advising them to ‘be vigilant after hearing reports that children and young people are copying games and violence’ from the show.
Reports have said children as young as six are copying the show’s traditional children’s games in the school playground which, in the show, come with deadly consequences for the losers.
The South Korean series centres around a fictional game show in which poverty-stricken characters compete in a series of death games to win a £27million cash prize.
The council is the latest in a string of schools to issue advice to parents about the show.
An English council has urged parents not to allow their children to watch the hit Netflix show Squid Games because it is ‘violent’ and ‘graphic’
It comes after reports that children as young as six are copying the traditional children’s games in the school playground
The Central Bedfordshire council email, which was first reported in The Guardian, said: ‘There have been some concerning reports recently about children and young people ‘playing’ Squid Game whilst at school.
‘We strongly advise that children should not watch Squid Game. The show is quite graphic with a lot of violent content.’
The survival drama, which features gruesome scenes of characters being shot in the head and organ harvesting, sees contestants take part in versions of traditional children’s games, with the winners progressing to the next stage.
Those failing the tasks are executed by a masked death squad standing by with machine guns.
Schools are similarly warning parents not to let their children watch the horror series after pupils were caught copying scenes in the new show.
Gareth Nichols, from Sir Francis Hill primary in Lincoln, said ‘a small group of pupils within school, aged around six’ were discussing the show and ‘re-enacting some scenes’.
Mr Nichols said the class teacher ‘immediately contacted parents to make them aware’, the BBC reported.
Sandown School in Deal, Kent, said Key Stage 2 teachers had given their pupils extra lessons on online safety and the dangers of watching content that is ‘not age appropriate’ as a response to the show’s popularity.
A spokeswoman for the school said: ‘We are always updating our advice to the parents and children, it’s something we are constantly updating.
‘As a response to this show and others we have put on extra lessons about violence and online harms.’
Central Bedfordshire council’s education safeguarding team sent an email to parents and guardians in the authority area advising them to ‘be vigilant after hearing reports that children and young people are copying games’
Gareth Nichols, from Sir Francis Hill primary in Lincoln, said ‘a small group of pupils within school, aged around six’ were discussing the show and ‘re-enacting some scenes’
The South Korean series, which is currently the most streamed show in the US and in the UK, centres around a fictional game show in which poverty-stricken characters compete in a series of death games to win a £27million cash prize
Goodwin Academy, another school in Deal, confirmed its safeguarding team had sent a letter to parents regarding age concerns over the content in the series.
A parent who lives in Deal wrote on social media: ‘We’ve received 2 school letters (primary/secondary) warning parents about letting kids watch ‘Squid Game’.
‘I’m starting to think a more general letter about parental responsibility might be more useful. Keep an eye on your kids’ media consumption people.’
A father said his children’s school in Ilford, east London, had also warned parents in a letter about kids playing their own version of Squid Game and that parents could be sanctioned over it.
He tweeted: ‘Can’t believe my kids’ school has had to send a letter telling parents that kids are playing their own version of Squid Game and that parents will have sanctions applied if their kids mimic Squid Game. The popularity of this show is next level.’
An expert has also warned parents may be teaching their children to be bullies by letting them watch ultra-violent Squid Game.
Dr Sandra Wheatley said the Netflix show could be harming youngsters’ ‘social and emotional development’ if they watch it too young.
It may encourage them to ‘stand by’ or ‘join in’ – rather than help – if they see a peer harmed, she added.
Squid Game, which was released on Netflix on September 17, was written by Hwang Dong-hyuk who himself suffered poverty during the ten years he spent trying to get the show made.
In each episode of Squid Game, characters take part in bloody versions of traditional children’s games, like Grandmother’s Footsteps, or British Bulldogs, with the winners progressing to the next ’round’ of the game show.
In one challenge, inspired by a Korean schoolyard game, characters are told to run towards a disturbing mannequin after it calls out ‘green light’ and must stop when ‘red light’ is shouted.
Players who are caught moving after ‘red light’ is shouted are shot dead.
The story centres around gambling addict Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) and his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo), a disgraced banker wanted by the police.