“Squid Game” online content under parental control

Jessica Balanzategui

NAC – The Dystopian South Korean Horror Series squid game has become Netflix’s most-watched TV series, but it’s quickly becoming as controversial as it is popular.

The latest controversy to arise around squid gamerestricted to viewers over the age of 15 in Australia, is linked to the interest it has generated among young children.

This includes warnings from an Australian school that children as young as six are recreating games featured on the dark and bloody hit show.

A council in the south of England recently emailed parents urging them to ‘be vigilant’ after receiving reports that ‘young people are copying the games and violence’ from the show. In Australia, similar warnings have been issued by educators in Sydney and Western Australia.

In squid gamecharacters compete for a cash prize by participating in challenges that augment classic Korean children’s games, with “losers” being killed at the end of each round.

Further emphasizing the show’s twisted take on child play, these games are staged in highly stylized arenas, like an adult-scale children’s playground. After each challenge, these traditional children’s play areas tend to be left soaked in blood and littered with piles of corpses.

ABOVE AND BELOW: Squid Game appropriates playgrounds and other childish iconography for its hyper-violent games; and the sadistic interpretation of the spectacle of playing marbles. PHOTOS: AFP

Father and daughter playing Squid Game in a park in Goyang, South Korea

While recent warnings urge parents not to let their children watch the violent show, their awareness is more likely related to its ubiquitous social media presence, which has spread to viral content on TikTok and YouTube. popular with teenagers and children.

The show is certainly a craze within children’s digital cultures. A number of successful channels on YouTube Kids, designed for those under 12, have capitalized on the squid game trending, including “How to Draw” character videos and themes Roblox game videos.

Robloxa video game popular with children, allows users to program games and share them with other users.

squid game has become a very common theme in these user-programmed games. Many squid game Roblox the videos have hundreds of thousands or even millions of views.

Both on the kids version and on the main version of YouTube, the videos aimed at children feature people (often children) playing these games. squid game-games inspired in Robloxthe “Red Light, Green Light” challenge becoming a particularly popular trend.

This challenge is also trending on TikTok, with people emulating the game in a wide variety of real-life settings and in video games.

The ‘Red Light, Green Light’ scene has become one of the squid gameMost Shared Moments From: The giant animatronic doll that acts as a deadly motion sensor in this game has been used in many internet memes and is often featured in video thumbnails.

Most of these YouTube Kids videos are pretty innocuous on their own. However, they show how squid game has crept into digital content explicitly targeting young children.

Given the show’s bright, childlike aesthetic and focus on playground games, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the viral content online appeals to kids. But the lines between online content for adults and children have always been blurred.

YouTube has been at the center of a number of controversies over inappropriate content aimed at children.

TikTok has faced similar controversies related to child safety on the app and problematic content watched by children, such as anti-vaccine videos.

Tik Tok allows full access to the app for children over 13, but reports show much younger children are using it.

Alongside YouTube, TikTok is currently facing a United States Senate hearing on child safety.

After YouTube was fined a historic $170 million by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2019, sweeping changes have been introduced to make the distinction between adult and adult content clearer. children on the platform.

For example, creators must now notify YouTube if their content is intended for children, and machine learning is used to identify videos that clearly target young audiences.

Despite these changes, YouTube remains a very different beast for streaming TV, and content popular with kids on both the mainstream and kids version of the platform often differs markedly from kids’ TV.

YouTube content for kids that makes fun of squid game the characters and scenes continue a long-standing trend of “mash-up” content for kids on the platform.

As squid game content, composite videos leverage trending themes, search terms, and characters – often featuring popular characters in thumbnail images and video titles.

Adult concerns about the show’s harmful influence on children build on previous concerns about this mash-up content, but also children’s interaction with the web more generally.

The growing global panic over children’s participation in squid game challenges echoes a phenomenon in 2018 and 2019: a photo of a sinister figure – actually a Japanese sculpture – became associated with the nickname “Momo” and went viral online.

An international news cycle has emerged about Momo, claiming the creature is appearing in children’s content on YouTube and encouraging children to participate in deadly games and challenges.

As is currently the case with squid gamein Australia and beyond, official warnings have been issued to parents about the Momo Challenge, advising them to be vigilant.

It soon became clear that it was most likely a viral hoax.

Momo embodied parents’ worst fears about the dangers of children’s Internet use. Concerns about squid gameThe influence of on children has a similar tenor: these fears may not be a response to real dangers, but a manifestation of our unease with the ease with which media aimed at adults can infiltrate the online content aimed at young children.

The unruly tentacles of squid gameThe cross-generational appeal of shows how streaming media challenges existing conceptions of kid-friendly content.

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