A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Korean culture, language, and customs are embedded into this thriller.
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.
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.
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Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
People are shown having sex. Sexual images.
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Frequent use of language like "damn," "piss," "bastard," "godammit," "s--t," "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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.
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.
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.