Squid Blame! Hit Netflix show may breed bullies, expert warns

Squid Game could be harming young viewers’ ‘social and emotional development and might breed bullies, expert warns

  • Parents may teach their children to be bullies by letting them watch Squid Game
  • Dr Sandra Wheatley said Netflix show could be harmful for youngsters’ 
  • She said it might have an adverse effect on ‘social and emotional development’ 

Parents may be teaching their children to be bullies by letting them watch ultra-violent Squid Game, an expert has warned.

Dr Sandra Wheatley said the Netflix show could be harming youngsters’ ‘social and emotional development’ if they watch it too young.

It may encourage them to ‘stand by’ or ‘join in’ – rather than help – if they see a peer harmed, she added.

The South Korean 15-rated series has caused furious rows on parenting site Mumsnet, with some saying it was fine for children aged eight.

It sees characters compete in challenges based on childhood games – but with fatal twists – to win £27million. 

Scenes depict someone shut in a coffin and people shot in the head.

Dr Sandra Wheatley said Netflix show Squid Game (pictured) could be harming youngsters’ ‘social and emotional development’ if they watch it too young

The South Korean 15-rated series has caused furious rows on parenting site Mumsnet, with some saying it was fine for children aged eight

Dr Wheatley, a social psychologist specialising in parenting, said primary-age children may not be old enough to understand the context of the violence, adding: ‘It may make them question, ‘why is nobody helping them?’ Clearly there are messages there that we really don’t want our kids to take on board.’

Last week, John Bramston Primary School in Ilford, east London, wrote to parents warning them pupils were copying scenes in the playground.

‘That might well shake the foundations of what they’re being taught at school, which is that we care and we help each other.

‘We don’t stand by if we witness an injustice. If we see somebody else being bullied or hurt, we tell a teacher, and we don’t just join in or walk away.

‘Clearly there are messages there that we really don’t want our kids to take on board.’

It comes after primary schools warned pupils had been seen mimicking violent scenes from the show.

And Mumsnet users caused outrage by admitting they had let their primary-age children watch it.

One wrote of her nine-year-old daughter: ‘I watch it with her and fast forward bits. She was hooked.’

Another wrote of her daughter aged eight: ‘I watch it with her in the room. I fast forward sex scenes or really brutal violence but she knows it’s not real.’

A third admitted: ‘My 9 and 11-year-old asked me if they could watch it and have seen bits.’

Many others condemned the action as ‘bad parenting’ with one saying: ‘Scummy parents let their kids watch violent shows’ and another saying: ‘It’s child neglect – so sad.’

Nuzhat Uthmani, a primary school teacher, also wrote in a blog for TES magazine that some of her pupils had watched Squid Game and she worried it could impact on their ‘mental health’.

She said: ‘It is frustrating the number of conversations you have to have, as a primary teacher, with pupils about age-appropriate content…

‘Ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents and carers to police this.’

Dr Wheatley said while parents should have the ‘freedom’ to choose what their children watch, it was wise err on the safe side.

She said young children take a ‘different message’ from adult content to their parents because they are too young to understand the themes.

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