The dystopian Korean drama follows a group of desperate people who compete in a deadly tournament to win large sums of money. The show is filled with gruesome scenes of murder and death games.
Since its release last month, The Squid Game has become Netflix’s biggest series launch of all time, with a phenomenal 82 million household views. At the beginning of each show, Netflix gives viewers a series of content warnings including sex, violence and suicide.
A letter sent to parents at All Saints Church of England school, seen by the Evening Standard, reads: “Our concern rests on the fact that this thriller features some scenes of brutal violence and is rated 15 by the British Board of Film Classification. Adults who do not succeed at the tasks are killed.
“I am sure you can understand why we are concerned; we have heard pupils talking about watching this.
“We are also aware that the influence of the programme has crossed over onto TikTok, Roblox and Minecraft, so the children may have had their interest piqued through those media to search out the original.”
The letter goes on to suggest a number of links with information about online safeguarding, and urges parents to continue monitoring what their children are consuming online.
A parent whose children attend the school told the Standard: “The show is very gory, so I’m surprised that anyone would let a 10-year-old watch The Squid Game.
“I wouldn’t let my child watch it. You don’t have to be a genius to work out that kids are going to watch this and try and replicate it in some way.
“I’m not surprised that the school are warning about it, but I am a bit surprised that children are watching the show at such a young age.”
The show has sparked concern amid reports that children have begun imitating the games played by contestants in the hit series.
Teachers at the municipal school of Erquelinnes Béguinage Hainaut, in Belgium, caught children playing versions of ‘1,2,3 Piano’ and other games from the show. In a Facebook post, a spokesperson for the school warned that students were “beating up” children who lost the challenges.
As concerns over the show grow, the parent at All Saints claimed that the school were right to warn parents and praised them for “taking care of the wellbeing” of students.
They added: “I could see a kid somewhere in the world taking one of these Squid Game challenges too far and getting hurt, so it’s better to be on top of these things. The fact the school are keeping parents informed is good.”
A string of schools across the UK have issued warnings about the hit Netflix show in the past few weeks.
Sandown School in Deal, Kent, last week issued fresh guidelines to parents on violence and online harm in response to the show’s popularity.
John Jolly, CEO of Parentkind, a charity network of PTA fundraisers in the UK, said on Monday: "Where there are safeguarding concerns, especially when children younger than the 15 rating are watching the show at home, parents need to exercise judgement as to whether or not it’s suitable for their child.
“They should use parental supervision to decide, just as they should when it comes to any entertainment containing adult themes that their child wishes to see.”
All Saints’ headteacher Claire Wood told the Standard: “We put the safeguarding of children at the centre and heart of all that we do and online safety, both at school and at home is of paramount importance given the digital world that children are so familiar with and spend so much time in.
“We aim to be proactive, as well as sometimes reactive, so we regularly send out information to parents which will either be on a specific issue, such as the Squid Game, but also regular reminders on various topics including age restrictions for games; apps; films and television.”