Squid Game is a South Korean series released by Netflix in September 2021 that is already a worldwide success, following a group of people try to win a monetary prize by participating in games that turn out to be deadly.
According to the streaming platform, the series in Portugal is advised for people over 16, due to the violent content presented. However, teachers and security agents such as the GNR are concerned with children recreating the challenges in playgrounds, for example.
The violent characters present in the nine episodes of the series leads child psychiatrists such as Ana Vasconcelos to defend the removal of the series from the Netflix catalogue, while the Covid-19 pandemic exists. The series sees children's and traditional games being transformed with a twist, turning them deadly. The show includes characters with their faces covered with a geometric symbol: square, triangle or circle. In an interview with Semanário Novo, Ana Vasconcelos points out that the covered faces, in the context of the series, remove empathy for the characters.
The professional also states that the addictive character creates an idea of possession by the characters' struggle for survival as adults, making it difficult to pedagogically explain the content of the series to the younger ones.
The loneliness and lack of physical contact caused by the pandemic led some people to demonstrate murderous instincts and, for this reason, Ana Vasconcelos advises the removal of the series from the Netflix catalogue until the pandemic scenario, in which we live, is over.
Other films and series can also cause addiction and attempt to replicate the behaviour of the characters, as pointed out by Pedro Hubert, a psychologist specialised in addictions to Semanário Novo. Sagas of films such as the Hunger Games, or the Spanish series La Casa de Papel, only, according to the psychologist, will awaken violent behaviour in those who are predisposed to violence. It is advisable that this content, if seen by young people, are accompanied by their parents. Pedro Hubert says that the lack of parental control over what their children watch on their phones or computer can cause psychological problems, such as addiction to pornography at a very early age, distorting the idea of sexuality in the future.
Pedro Hubert says that public debate about violence and sexual content should be made accessible to anyone quite easily, in series like Squid Game or even Game of Thrones.
According to Correio da Manhã, countries like Brazil, Belgium and the United Kingdom banned the sale of masks related to the series for the Halloween season. In Spain, a funeral home created coffins inspired by the series.