11 July 2024

Thai police have expressed concerns over South Korea’s hit survival drama TV series “Squid Game”, citing some violent scenes which may affect the mental health of some youths and lead to emulation.

Streaming on Netflix, the series was released worldwide on September 17th. The series centre on a contest in which 456 players, drawn from different walks of life, but each deeply in debt, who play a set of children’s games, with deadly penalties for losing against the chance to win a 45.6 billion Won (1.29 billion Baht) top prize.

The series received widespread critical acclaim for its acting, originality, directing, visual style, musical score, art direction, atmosphere and themes. It has become one of Netflix’s most-watched series in several regional markets.

Pol Col Krisana Pattanacharoen, deputy spokesman for the National Police Office, said today (Monday) that the series features sound and vision depicting violent behaviour, assault, murder, grisly dismemberment and fierce competition for survival.

He said that some viewers, especially the young, may be tempted to copy the violent scenes or may imagine themselves as being caught in the same situations as the players in the series.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yongyud Wongpiromsarn, an advisor to the Mental Health Department, said that the series is no different from movies which are rated 18 or “R” for content, suitable for adults only.

As a platform, Netflix has screened the content, at certain level, and is subscription based with child protection functionality, but his concern is for those under age, especially the vulnerable ones, who do not get counselling from their parents.

Associate Professor Pol Lt-Col Krisanapong Phutrakul, president of the Institute of Criminology and Justice Administration at Rangsit University, said there have been several research works that conclude that movie content, which features violent competition, may cause young viewers to emulate what they watch, noting that other factors may also contribute to violent behaviour, such as family or community environments.

He said, however, that it could be director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s intention to portray the exploitation of the weak, structural problems in the society, inequality, greed and moral conflict through the Squid Game series.