Written by Melissa Henson | Published October 6, 2021
The program most in-demand on Netflix right now is an imported drama series called “Squid Game.”
Even if you haven’t heard of it yet, chances are your kids have.
“Squid Game” is a South Korean series that has taken Netflix by storm. According to Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, it is poised to become Netflix’s most popular series ever. With elements similar to “The Hunger Games,” “Squid Game” is set in a dystopian world where players, hungry for cash prizes, compete in familiar children’s games like “Red Light, Green Light” that turn deadly.
And the program is violent. Incredibly violent. The UK’s “Daily Mail” asks, “Is this the most twisted series on TV?” noting the program’s scenes of organ harvesting, torture and death squad killings. “In the final episode of Squid Game - and 'round' of the fictional game show within the series - the main characters are pitted against each other, with Gi-hun eventually tasked with killing his closest friend in order to win the game and take home the 45.6 billion won (around £28m) cash prize.”
A critic for Slate Magazine observes, “There are literally hundreds of such deaths in the show’s nine episodes, with a bonus dissection scene, if what you really crave is to see some intestines.”
According to VidAngel data, the first episode of “Squid Game” (59 minutes in length) contained 25 instances of graphic violence, including multiple people getting shot in the back, chest or head; pools of blood, sprays of blood, and piles of dead bodies.
Although it is rated TV-MA, it is being heavily marketed by Netflix, appearing on most menu screens as soon as you launch your Netflix app. According to Axios, “the global audience demand for ‘Squid Game’ has increased every single day since its debut on Netflix on Sept. 17… as of Oct. 2, ‘Squid Game’ was 102.9x more in-demand than the average show worldwide, per Parrot — a 481% increase in global audience demand from its launch day.”
But of even greater concern is the way "Squid Game" is being promoted to viewers too young to watch the TV-MA rated series on social media platforms. According to NBC News, "#SquidGame" has been viewed more than 22.8 billion times on TikTok; on other social media sites, "the games the characters must play have been replicated dozens of times"; and young teens and tweens are watching the series through online gaming platforms like Roblox and Minecraft.
Netflix’s big selling point was supposed to be that their computer algorithms would recommend titles to you based on previous viewing. But Netflix frequently bypasses that algorithm to promote content they want you to see – even if it doesn’t align with your viewing history or personal values. Netflix is aggressively marketing this program to ALL subscribers.
If you are a parent with children in the house who might be curious to know what all the buzz is about, make sure you are using the available parental controls – which on Netflix includes restricting specific programs in addition to setting limits based on the age rating.