The massive popularity of the Netflix series “Squid Game,” which features adults playing children’s games turned deadly, has led to fears among Quebec parents and school boards that the violence is being mimicked on school playgrounds.
Guillaume Taillon-Chretien said his eight-year-old daughter came home one evening this month visibly shaken up, afraid to return to school. “She told me older kids were playing the games from ‘Squid Game,“’ said Taillon-Chretien, whose daughter is in Grade 3 at an elementary school in Massueville, northeast of Montreal.
He said the series is “absolutely not suited” for young children, but one girl in the school was playing the role of a doll who determines which characters die. “And she was reproducing it, reproducing when they get shot, lying face on the ground,” he said.
Several school boards in the province have recently issued statements warning parents about students imitating the games on playgrounds. The South Korean series features 456 desperate, indebted adults fighting each other to the death for a chance to win a prize worth roughly $48 million.
The show is rated for mature audiences only, and schools from Australia to the United Kingdom are reportedly asking parents to make sure their kids don’t watch it following reports of “Squid Game” play at recess.
Montreal psychologist Nadia Gagnier said that for young children, parents provide the most influence and guidance. She said stopping children from watching “Squid Game” isn’t enough parents should discuss the phenomenon as a way to reassure their children and build trust.
“Everybody is talking about it, so pretending nothing is happening, I don’t think it’s the best approach,” Gagnier said.
— The Canadian Press