“Squid Game,” which debuted on Netflix in September, is a South Korean fictional drama following contestants, who are deeply in debt, as they play a series of children’s games in an attempt to win money. But, if contestants lose, they’re killed off — and the show doesn’t shy away from the gore and violence.
On Netflix, the show has a rating of TV-MA, meaning it may not be suitable for teenagers under 17. And yet the show has found its way to those far younger, drawing concerns from doctors.
Doctors at the Child Mind Institute — a nonprofit dedicated to children’s mental health — recommend that no one should watch “Squid Game” until at least late adolescence, regardless of whether parents are watching with them.
“The level of violence is horrifying — more than most shows,” said David Anderson, head of School and Community Programs at the Child Mind Institute, in a statement. “It’s a murder fest with the premise that out of over 400 participants, there can only be one survivor.”
“Characters are systematically tortured and killed for the sadistic pleasure of a game master. Adults have sex, and there are threats of sexual violence: Women are grabbed by the hair and beaten,” the website notes. “Themes concerning the highs one gets from gambling, winning, or conning money are a main focus.”
In some cases, schools have taken action against the show and its games.
Similar moves have been made internationally, as well.