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Parents' Guide to

Squid Game

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

K-thriller has extreme violence, sex, some moral lessons.

TV Netflix Action 2021
Squid Game Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 95 parent reviews

age 18+

Alarmingly violent, hopeless, dystopian, and possibly anxiety-triggering

The problem here isn't just the mindless violence -- and the desensitization and loss of human empathy that it contributes to -- but the alarmingly hopeless moral positions in which the characters find themselves. That there is blood and gore splashed liberally across every scene is only the beginning. The rest is the horrific, animal brutality that is imposed upon the characters in the name of survival. For example, in episode 4, players are pitted against each other in teams playing tug of war -- only they're playing it on platform raised high in the air. The rope dangles over an abyss, which is between the two teams, and the goal of the game is to pull the other team off the ledge. Once a team has fallen, a guillotine drops down and cuts the rope, plunging the members of the losing team to their death. There is a lot of careful cinematography here focusing on the faces and emotions of the losing team as they realize that they will not survive the game. It is gut-wrenching to watch then, not only because of the gore, but because of the "Faces of Death" attempt at audience titillation as well. (And a disgusting comment on our society that this is where we find our entertainment these days.) While the "game" here is horrific enough in itself, many children (and others who are prone to asking "what if" and "why" questions) may try to hypothetically place themselves into some of the moral dilemmas posed by this series, which could be extremely triggering and upsetting. Weirdly, also, I thought I had Netflix set up to block it, and yet my child was still able to access it from her phone. (I didn't block it, though, until after I realized what it was, at which point, she'd already streamed the whole series. Lesson learned.) This is not, as promoted, a smart commentary on capitalism, or greed, or any other social aspect of modern society. (For that, try reading Erich Fromm instead.) It is a far extreme presentation of human desperation, Lord-of-the-Flies-style, rated TV-MA and with multiple masked characters with guns. It's etched in my mind now, too, a new ugly space that won't go away. I wish I'd never seen any of it, and strongly discourage it for children.
age 10+

You will see dead body that got shot, swearing and sex.

For me when I watched the first episode it was bloody but not that realistic. But with the other episodes get ready to see inappropriate stuff and a lot of torture. I think you should be at least 13 years old to watch squid games.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (95 ):
Kids say (312 ):

Though too violent for young teens, there are some moral lessons peeking out behind the lines in this series. In Squid Game, the play between the clownish, down-on-his-luck main character, Gi-hun, and the cold killer behind the game he's lured into creates an intriguing tension. The characters are nicely developed, and the production value of the series is extremely sleek. The human element lends depth.

But there is a lot of torture and murder to endure -- no subtlety there -- and the violence can come off as gratuitous. Some predictable plot points distract from the fine acting and the high-minded concept. Fans of dystopian thrillers will enjoy this series. Sensitive or younger viewers should avoid this one.

TV Details

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