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Kids shouldn’t watch “Squid Game”, but what to do if they’ve already seen it?

Squid Game is Netflix’s most popular series, with 100 million viewers in its first month. The age rating for the series is marked TV-MA (the programme is specifically designed for adults and may not be suitable for children under 17). In the series, the characters compete by playing various children’s games. The characters who lose the game are killed. So Squid Game is definitely not a series for children. But that doesn’t mean kids don’t know or haven’t seen this series. Even if your child hasn’t seen a single episode of the series, social networking sites (such as Tik-Tok) can easily find variations of other people copying episodes of the Squid Game series. And that means kids can talk to each other about the series and can move the game elements seen in the series to the playground.

How to react if children play Squid Game? And what’s the best way to talk to your kids about Squid Game?

1. When talking to a child, the most important thing is the reactions of the adults – how we talk to the child. Let’s talk to the child with curiosity, sensitivity, a desire to listen and a desire to understand. Let’s try not to blame children (“why did you do it”) and not moralise (“bad that…”). It is important to create an atmosphere of security, because the purpose of such a conversation is for children to perceive us as adults as a source of help, to share their feelings and thoughts with us, which is only possible in a safe environment.

2. How to start a conversation with a child? Very simple and natural, for example: “There’s been a lot of talk lately about that new series, Squid Game. Tell me, what have you heard. This way you will understand how, what and how much the child already knows. This type of conversation performs a “talk and block” function, not a “talk and encourage” view.

3. It is also important to understand what the child is thinking and how he is feeling. We will learn these things by asking questions: “What do you think about the series / interest in it / that other children are playing, that you are playing, etc.?” “How do you feel about what you have seen, heard, spoken or done and so on. ?

4. Be sure to talk about how we treat each other in society (class, family) (friendly, respectful, empathetic, etc.). Talk about how it is acceptable to treat others when we play games. A very good example of how during a sports match, players who break the rules of the game (pushing, beating and trying to win in other disrespectful forms) are temporarily or permanently removed from the game.

5. It would be great if you could talk to the kids about what a series is, a movie that makes it different from the real world. Talk about what makeup is, the scenery in the movie. You can show images from the filming site, photos of the actors in real life. In this way, we will help children understand what reality is and what artistic means are, in the ways of which something is highlighted and emphasised. It is important to say that the series, the movie, the game is not a reality, although it seems very realistic.

6. It is also important for parents to make it clear to the child that the series can cause very unpleasant feelings for people, especially children. “I understand that what you have seen, heard or done may make you feel afraid, you may be anxious and uncomfortable, I am always ready to help you. “Let’s keep in mind that a child may not always feel comfortable naming us how he or she actually feels (e.g., scared, worried) because perhaps the child hears completely opposite ideas from his or her peers (e.g., it’s the best and most fun thing).

You can find more about why it is important to talk to children about the opportunities and threats of the Internet, and how to talk about it in “Erudito licėjus” webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ4VAsWbqRM

Prepared by a “Erudito licėjus” psychologist Virginija Rekienė.