Children play Squid Game. "Thank God they do. They should still not watch it, though", says psychologist Karin Weyer. A look into why she thinks so, and into why the media hype about the "dangers" is a prime example of clickbaiting.
"This new thing is making our children aggressive", is a phrase as old as society. Every year the list of these "things" grows longer: in the 1980s, it was the "satanic" role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, played secretly in basements. Only a few years later, the Harry Potter books were banned in numerous schools across the world – because they allegedly glorified witchcraft. The American-sounding (but German) word ego-shooter has in and of itself become a warning against computer games. Anime (Japanese animation series) and card and video games based on them, such as Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokémon, have always entailed a lot of controvery, if not straight out bans.
Some new "thing" has always existed in one shape or another. What they almost always have in common is that they seem "foreign", that they harms "our children" and that they are almost always quickly forgotten when, contrary to expectations, they have not corrupted an entire generation. The new hype surrounding the South Korean series Squid Game fits this trend like a glove.
The new "thing"
The Netflix show follows a group of 456 heavily indebted Koreans who are enticed by a shadowy group of masked super-rich people with a prize money of 33 million euros to take part in a series of children's games. Those who lose are killed by uniformed referees. The twist critical of capitalism: the participants can drop out at any time if only the majority votes in favour of stopping the games. But their financial situation is so desolate that the majority would rather return to the games than face their debtors. And so, champagne in hand, the "VIPs" bet on whether contestants will live or die in classic children's games such as Red Light-Green Light, Tug of War, Marbles, or the Korean Squid Game.
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