The Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) has cautioned against the viewership of Netflix’s Squid Game by children under the age of 18.
In a statement issued on Monday, 1st November KFCB acting chair Christopher Wambua said that the release of Squid Game to the Kenya market has elicited concern from parents and caregivers over children emulating some of the scenes in real life settings, either at home or at school.
“Squid Game is rated 18 and is intended for mature audiences. Despite the childhood game references, it is not meant for viewing by children,” read part of the statement.
Netflix has self-rated the series 18+ with notes for suicide, violence, and sex to advise viewers that are over 18 that the content could be disturbing.
KFCB says that the series has some gory scenes that have been copied and pasted onto online streaming platforms, including YouTube, Instagram and TikTok adding that the development has seen content that is protected on Netflix platform on account of its unsuitability to children and other vulnerable groups now become readily available online without any of the parental control safeguards that have been applied to the content on the Netflix’s platform.
“This is regrettable as it is also a contravention of the intellectual rights of the owners of the content. As a result, the risk of children now imitating or re-enacting scenes in the game from the series has become real,” said Wambua.
While seemingly innocent, Wambua says the scenes may lead to escalation of violence and other vices as depicted in the series, causing grave harm to the children, including death.
“It will be recalled that in 2021, a Kenyan youth is reported to have confessed as having murdered his parents and siblings on account of the influence of a film titled ‘Killing Eve’. Further, in 2017, another popular challenge game dubbed ‘Blue Whale’, allegedly led to suicide among teenagers in various parts of the world including Kenya.”
The Board now wants parents, caregivers and guardians to be more vigilant and monitor the content their children are consuming on media platforms and guide them appropriately especially now we are approaching December Holidays when losts of children will be expected to be at home for holidays and festivities.
Wambua says KFCB and Netflix will roll out a joint sensitization programme to educate parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers on the available safeguards on the Netflix platform and that is meant to empower parents, teachers, guardians and care givers with information on the available parental control tools on Netflix to safeguard children from accessing age-appropriate content online, including Squd Game.
The Board has since written to Google requesting them to ensure that sections and scenes of the ‘Squid Game’ that have been recreated, distributed and exhibited on ‘YouTube’ are pulled down or made inaccessible to help in ensuring that the content is restricted to adults.