The Netflix series “Squid Game” is trending among children and young people despite explicit scenes of violence. Even if adolescents have not seen the series themselves, they get insights through YouTube videos, social media posts or in the schoolyard. Parts of the series are played there. In our media coach column, Dr. Iren Schulz explains what parents need to know about “Squid Game” and how they can talk about it with their children.
Dear reader, dear reader,
is it all just a game or a bitter seriousness? The combination of playful elements with sweaty drama in films and series creates excitement for the audience. This is also the focus of the Netflix series “Squid Game”, which is currently sparking a new debate among educators and concerns among educators.
What’s it all about?
At Squid Game – in German “squid game” – highly indebted people compete against each other in seemingly harmless rounds of games in order to win a high prize money. This is not about ambition and fun, but about life and death – because whoever loses, dies. In recent weeks, the nine-part series has caused an international hype and is called the most successful Netflix series of all time. Even though Squid Game is officially recommended by Netflix from the age of 16, children and young people are obviously also watching the series, finding posts on popular social media platforms or have bought the appropriate Halloween costumes. The competitions are replayed on school yards and appropriate penalties, for example baking pipes, are devised for the losers.
What causes enthusiasm?
In fact, Squid Game serves a pop cultural trend with the bright colors and the Asian manga aesthetic, which is also popular among girls and boys in this country. At the same time, transgressions and anxiety (through challenges) in media consumption are typical phenomena of growing up, with which one can gain recognition from friends and a sense of belonging for oneself.
What is the problem?
The problem is the violence explicitly shown in the series, which is difficult for children and young adolescents to endure and disturbing. In addition, drastic violence is legitimized as an acceptable option for game losers. This creates a problematic relationship that children are not yet able to classify well. In addition, many YouTubers and influencers who are popular with children jump on the topic, show content from the series, earn money with it and do not live up to their responsibility to their young followers. Even without having watched the series themselves, younger people easily come into contact with it through social networks.
What’s the point of Squid Game?
Is Squid Game actually a game?
Is Squid Game appropriate for 12 year olds?