Some schools in Qatar have sent circulars to parents warning against the "Squid Game" series on Netflix.
Schools and child psychologists across the country are calling for online safety now more than ever.
Where the popular Netflix series "Squid Game" inspires gaming among students.
Where in recent weeks, Netflix released the record-breaking Korean thriller series that quickly reached the number one list of the most watched shows worldwide,
Millions of viewers were immersed in her attention-grabbing concept.
Episode nine is about 456 people who sign up to participate in a set of childhood games with a brutal twist on a fight to win a grand prize money. Both violence and brutality are clearly visible in every episode.
Despite her 18-year-old rating, and with parents controlling the internet during the pandemic, children all over the world are starting to
Watching at home and imitating scenes from the popular thriller in schools, which led to warnings from experts.
Parents and professionals alike believe that the series poses a risk to children's mental health, as it sends negative and violent messages that could be highly harmful if applied in real life.
Since the adult show has gained huge popularity among teens, international experts have urged parents to turn on parental controls on Netflix.
It is worth noting a report issued by the British Belfast Telegraph that children as young as nine years old watched the show.
While failure in the show led to death, the report said, "A school in Belgium reported that children who are eliminated at games are beaten."
In Qatar, Doha News has learned that the Lebanese School in Qatar (LSQ) has sent a circular to all parents to raise awareness of the risks to the mental and emotional health of students.
“We ask that you tighten censorship of the content your children are exposed to on Youtube, Netflix and TikTok, for example,
For example, and is not just limited to the recently popular "Squid Game" that includes bloody and violent scenes," the school's counseling center wrote in a circular.
A source told Doha News that teachers at LSQ realized that some children under the age of five know the Squid Game,
They noted that many play games during lunch breaks, albeit in a peaceful manner.
A third grader said that the children in her class were playing the “green light and red light game” from the series,
Which prevents any movement after the light turns red.
As shown in the show, those who make any sudden movements as soon as the light turns red are brutally murdered.
The source said the students were pointing to their bare hands as rifles instead.
LSQ students reported that teachers warn them not to watch the actual series because it is not appropriate for their age.
However, others are taking a more positive turn.
A source at another school in Doha said physical education instructors were teaching students games inspired by the series in an effort to implement this trend in a healthy way.
“It was fun, exciting and challenging but it wasn't harmful,” one of the students told Doha News.
The sports teacher divided the class into groups, girls and boys separately, and taught them the common “red light” and “green light” games for children.
"The one who loses starts over, and no one is eliminated," she explained.
One parent also said that controlling what children see online since the pandemic began has become nearly impossible because of everything, including education, and the transition to the virtual world.
However, online safety is “very important to protect children from harmful scenes and manipulative messages
that they can learn from inappropriate movies and videos online,” the parent added.
In an interview with Doha News, Mind Institute Qatar's senior clinical psychologist, Muhammad Al-Hadi Mabrouk, said schools and parents share a responsibility to protect children from potentially harmful content.
For parents, the psychologist advised to "try to keep electronic devices in common places in the home so that parents can better monitor device usage."
He also suggested that schools "should hold PHSE courses related to Internet use" to raise awareness about the issue.
"Schools should hold emotional awareness sessions to educate children and teens on how to deal with negative emotions, as well as how the substances we consume affect our emotional state," he added.
The specialist also talked about the cooperative role of parents and schools in addressing this phenomenon. "Schools should have open communication with parents so that if a child or teen feels the need to act on what they are seeing, both parties will have the time and resources to quickly manage the situation."
He noted that "it will always be an excellent option to work closely with qualified therapists for similar challenges, so that children and adolescents have the appropriate psychological tools to deal with their personal experiences."
In the wake of the popular K-series, Mabrouk advised adults to "have a conversation with the child and ask them questions about what they've heard about Squid and what they're thinking, allowing you to project and engage their perspectives in decision-making, and instilling responsibility."
"Look for signs and triggers of fears or anxiety, such as insomnia, night terrors, bedwetting and/or crying or talking about fear — and treat the situation accordingly," he said.