Schools have started warning parents about the violent Netflix hit series Squid Game.
It comes after students started asking teachers to run competitions included in the South Korean program that has become Netflix’s most watched show in 90 countries.
And schools have said that students started playing the game in playgrounds – with reports of children beating up the “eliminated” players.
In the fictional series, hundreds of indebted participants take on survival tasks – masked as popular playground games – for a huge cash prize.
The name Squid Games comes from a Korean school playground game in which children run to the finish line when called “green light” and then freeze when called “red light” – all players caught moving are eliminated.
But on the Netflix show, players caught moving will be shot.
Now schools are warning parents that the show and its violent and cruel scenes are not suitable for teenagers. reports Der Spiegel.
A father in London received a letter from his child’s school in Ilford warning that students were playing their own version of Squid Game – and that parents could be sanctioned for doing so.
He tweeted, “I can’t believe my children’s school had to send a letter to my kids letting parents know that kids are playing their own version of Squid Game and that parents will be sanctioned if their kids emulate Squid Game. The popularity of this show is next level. “
Meanwhile, in response to the show’s popularity, a Kent school was issuing additional lessons on violence and online harm.
A spokeswoman for the Sandown School in Deal said the key level 2 teachers had given their students additional lessons about online safety and the dangers of viewing content that is “not age appropriate”.
“We are constantly updating our advice for parents and children, which we are constantly updating.
“In response to this and other shows, we held additional lessons on violence and online harm.”
Another deal school, Goodwin Academy, confirmed that their security team had sent a letter to parents regarding age concerns regarding the content of the series.
On social media, one parent wrote: “We received 2 school letters (primary / secondary) warning parents not to let children watch Squid Game.
“I think a more general parental responsibility letter might be more useful. Keep an eye on your children’s media consumers.”
In Belgium, one school reported that its students played “squid games” – in which children beat up the “eliminated” players.
John Jolly, CEO of Parentkind, a charity network of PTA fundraisers in the UK, said, “When there are concerns about protection, especially when children under the age of 15 are watching the show at home, parents need to judge whether or not it is for them Child suitable.
“You should use parental supervision to make decisions, just as you should with adult-themed entertainment that your child wants to see.
“When there are specific concerns, we encourage schools, like in Kent, to work in partnership with parents.
“This will raise parents’ awareness of the issues and ensure that parents can strengthen the values of the school at home.”
The director of Squid Game said he wasn’t expecting the “fever” around the show.
The Korean drama, written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, presents people in financial distress with a mysterious invitation to play a game that could earn them 45.6 billion South Korean won (around £ 28 million).
To win the money, the 456 participants have to play traditional kids games like Red Light, Green Light, with the price of failure being death.
Hwang said, “We targeted a global audience from the start, but this fever wasn’t what I was expecting. I mean who could have that? “
Squid Game is well on its way to becoming the greatest Netflix series of all time.
The show premiered on September 17 and reached first place in 90 countries in 10 days, the streaming service said.
It has been compared to The Hunger Games, Charlie Brookers Black Mirror, and the 2014 Japanese horror film As The Gods Will.
However, 50-year-old Hwang said the first two didn’t affect his work on Squid Game, an idea he had in 2008.
“When I first came up with the idea in 2008, I was interested in the Japanese survival comics – Battle Royale; Liar Game: Born Again; Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji; to name a few, ”he said.
“As I read on, I thought about doing the survival genre in Korea. The Japanese game-based comics focused more on the games than on their characters. While the games were elaborate and complex, the players were treated less carefully.
“On the contrary, I wanted to show more of the characters who play simple games. I saw The Hunger Games and Black Mirror which didn’t influence me for this work. I didn’t see As The Gods Will. It wasn’t until later, when I heard that the first game was the same, that I watched that particular scene. “
The main characters in Squid Game include Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-jun and Jung Ho-yeon.
After previously speaking of wanting to make Squid Game “downright Korean”, Hwang said, “I believe that the characters, their stories and the problems they face are not just the realities and problems of South Korean society reflect but also my own.
“I played the games and how the players play and react in them when I was a child with my friends. This work contains everything from my 50 years of life – memories, experiences, families and friends; All of the characters’ names are taken from my friends, including Seong Gi-hun (played by Lee Jung-jae).
“So this work is personal and Korean.
“But I was sure that there were similar experiences, memories and feelings that everyone around the world could share at the same time. We have all given ourselves to the games once and now, all of us grown up, we are getting tired of the great survival game. “
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