Written by PTC | Published November 3, 2021
LOS ANGELES (November 3, 2021) – The Parents Television and Media Council is amplifying its warning to parents about Netflix’s Squid Game, after releasing data that reveals the frequency and intensity of the violence, and other adult content, on the program. 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.
According to filter data from VidAngel, there were 301 instances of violence and gore across Squid Game’s 9 episodes; including scenes of people being mowed down by guns, shot in the head, scenes of dead bodies piled up, and even depictions of organ harvesting. Also, Squid Game’s 9 episodes contained 305 instances of profanity, and 10 instances of nudity. The first episode alone 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.
“Squid Game might be a global phenomenon, and parents might be tempted to let their kids hop on the bandwagon. But it is vital that parents understand just how intensely violent this program truly is. What’s even more concerning is that children – some who are elementary school-aged – are learning about and copying aspects of the series, thanks in part to social media’s role in marketing this program,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
The show’s explosive popularity has been due largely to word-of-mouth and social media. The hashtag #SquidGame has had 49.1 billion views on teen and tween-dominated TikTok. Worldwide, Squid Game has received more than 12 million mentions across social media platforms and a reach of more than 36 trillion. The viral marketing of Squid Game is trickling down to younger audiences through Roblox, Minecraft, and YouTube – sparking interest in the series among viewers too young to handle the intensely violent content.
Educators in Belgium, England and Australia have started issuing warnings to parents about the program after reports of children copying games and violence from the show.
“Netflix is aggressively marketing Squid Game to its subscribers, and tragically children are becoming collateral damage. We call on Netflix to exercise extreme caution with their marketing, and to adjust their algorithms to protect children and families. And we call on parents – always the first and last line of defense – to keep their children away from this potentially harmful content,” Winter said.