Squid Game

TV review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Squid Game TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
K-thriller has extreme violence, sex, some moral lessons.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 84 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 210 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Be loyal to your friends. Honesty pays off. Respect your family. Help others even if it puts you at risk.

Positive Role Models

Elders in this show dispense wisdom, and they are considered but not always revered or respected. Main character Gi-hun yells at his elderly mother, steals her debit card. Gi-hun adores his tween daughter, but she tends to act like the adult in the relationship, advising him to stop smoking and not get beaten up. 

Diverse Representations

Because it takes place in Korea, there is strong Asian representation. Women play secondary roles, are often treated with disdain. Within the game, most players are men who appear to be in their 20s to 40s; a larger age range is depicted outside the game.

Violence

Beatings with threats of torture -- like using an instrument inserted into someone's nose to make "blood soup." Long, drawn-out scene of mass murder by gunshot with blood spewing out of heads, out of chests; hundreds of people lying in bloody piles. Threat of murder that makes people do horrible things to each other. Men beat women who are lying on the ground, grab them by the hair. Threat of sexual violence. Suicide attempt. Sadistic game master enjoys seeing people killed, makes light of people's pain and suffering.

Sex

People are shown having sex. Sexual images.

Language

Frequent use of language like "damn," "piss," "bastard," "godammit," "s--t," "bitch."

Consumerism

Money and greed, gambling, and hustling are themes here. Certain Korean brands are seen but not focused upon.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke frequently, drink hard alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the level of violence is very intense in Squid Game. 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. Themes concerning the highs one gets from gambling, winning, or conning money are a main focus. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byOnurOnCommonSense October 5, 2021

For those who want to watch Squid Game but are Squeamish (or have friends or family that haven't)

Here's a guide on each 'squeamish' scene to skip:

When I tried to find a guide for this series there was none so me and my friend, I wanted to d... Continue reading
Adult Written bySune September 28, 2021

Brutal

Those who say it’s fine for kids 13 and up must have very hardy 13 year olds. My two love Stranger Things and the Hunger Games but this is much, much more viole... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byravenclaw_307 October 5, 2021

Please don't watch unless you are 14+

I started watching this because it was really popular and my friends were talking about it. The first three episodes were OK but the 1st and 3rd had people gett... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMOVIE LOVER6000 September 22, 2021

I love it

Sexy stuff: there’s only one sex scene in it which is quite aggressive and you can see nipple for a second but it’s fine for anyone over 14
Violence: there is... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SQUID GAME, 47-year-old Gi-hun lives with his mother and sometimes works as a chauffeur. After stealing his mother's debit card, withdrawing her savings, and taking it to a gambling den, he's hunted down by debt collectors who threaten to take his kidney and his eye if he doesn't come up with the money he owes within a month. His 10-year-old daughter is living with a wealthy stepfather, who may be moving far away, and things look pretty bleak. Then a mysterious stranger with a briefcase approaches Gi-hun in a subway station, enticing him to play a child's game for serious money. When he loses, he is slapped. When he wins, he makes good money. The stranger gives him a card, inviting him to join a bigger game for really good money. Will Gi-hun call? Will his life be the same if he does?

Is it any good?

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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about intense violence as seen in Squid Game. A character enjoys seeing people in pain. How does seeing violence like that influence how you think of human nature?

  • Characters in this series are in debt, often because they're addicted to gambling. Are there addictions that are of concern to you?

  • Characters in this series smoke. What can you do to help keep your friends and family from smoking? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama and thrills

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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