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KFCB warns against Squid Game series over graphic, violent content

STANDARD ENTERTAINMENT
By James Wanzala | November 1st 2021
The series, which has since been released to the Kenyan market, is available in original Korean and English dub languages. [iStockphoto]

Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) has warned parents and guardians against the movie series, Squid Game over graphic and violent content

This comes after KFCB noted that some of the gory scenes of the series, which is available on the subscription platform Netflix, have been copied and pasted onto other online streaming platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

The series, which has since been released to the Kenyan market, is available in original Korean and English dub languages. 

Addressing a press conference yesterday, KFCB acting chief executive officer Christopher Wambua said Squid Game is strictly for adults.

"Netflix has rated the series as 18 on account of the graphic and violent nature of the content. It is important to note at this juncture that the rating of 18 is typically assigned to programming that is meant for adults only," said Mr Wambua.

The copying and pasting of the gory scenes, the board said has seen content that is protected on Netflix on account of its unsuitability to children and other vulnerable groups now become readily available online without parental control safeguards.

"This is regrettable as it is also a contravention of the intellectual property rights of the owners of the content," he said. 

The South Korean survival drama television series created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, revolves around 456 players in deep financial debt who put their lives at risk to play a series of children's games for the chance to win a ?45.6 billion or US 38.7million prize (Sh4.3 billion).

The title of the series draws from a similarly named Korean children's game.

The series that was released on September 17, has gained popularity with more than 100 million views across the globe.

"The release of the Squid Game’ to the Kenyan market has, however, also elicited concern from parents and caregivers over children emulating some of the scenes in real-life settings, either at home or in school," added Wambua.

"As the statutory agency mandated by statute to regulate film and broadcast content with a view to protecting children from exposure to inappropriate content, the KFCB has resolved to issue an advisory to parents, guardians, and care-givers on the Squid Game," he added.

He explained that Netflix has self-rated Squid Game 18+ with notes for suicide, violence, and sex to advise viewers that are 18 and above that the content could be disturbing.

According to KFCB, if children continue getting access to the series, there could be a repeat of evens in Kenya for instance where a youth confessed to murdering 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, led to suicide among teenagers in various parts of the world including Kenya.

‘‘The board takes this opportunity to advise parents, caregivers, and guardians to be more vigilant and monitor the content their children are consuming on media platforms and guide them appropriately. This is particularly important, as we approach the December holidays when children are likely to have unlimited access to media channels," said Wambua.

He noted that Squid Game also depicts quick fixes through unorthodox methods to getting rich.

Children and vulnerable groups, he said could easily be influenced into illegal activities and therefore, parents must educate their children that there are no shortcuts in life and hard work pays.

The KFCB acting CEO said the board has engaged Netflix and agreed among other things to ensure that ‘Squid Game’ is appropriately rated as adult content and that the content available in Kenya will conform with the board's classification for age suitability and other provisions of the law.

"The board and Netflix will constitute a joint team to deliberate on the mechanisms of fast-tracking the platform’s application of the local classification system on Netflix’s programming that is accessible within Kenya," he said.

He said since adults can choose what to watch, KFCB and Netflix rolled out a joint sensitisation programme yesterday to educate parents, guardians, teachers and caregivers on the available safeguards on Netflix.?

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