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Local parents share what happens when their kids watch frightening series

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"I always watch and observe what they watch." Photo: Getty Images
"I always watch and observe what they watch." Photo: Getty Images

When Netflix released the South Korean thriller series Squid Game, with an age restriction of 16, we were surprised to learn that children as young as 8 were watching the controversial series and discussing it with one another at school.

Must read: Should children as young as 8 be watching Squid Game? Surprisingly, parents and experts disagree 

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It would also seem that a total ban isn't the way forward, as London-based mom Polly Mackenzie shared on Twitter:

She says that after the school urged children not to watch the series, the warning only resulted in more children wanting to watch the series. 

Nonetheless, it's strongly advised that kids do not watch it, and Common Sense Media, a leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools, warns that parents need to know that the level of violence is "very intense" in Squid Game. 

Local parents

Closer to home, we found that parents were reluctant to let their young children watch this series, but some parents did admit to us that they let their children watch scary movies or series, so asked some parents if they noticed any changes in behaviour after their children watched movies or series that were frightening.

One mom of two young boys, Jennifer, who owns a daycare centre, says that she is cautious about what her four-year-olds watch on television and even limits comics with frightening themes.

She says this is because "children re-enact what they are watching. After all, these are their role models. They become the character."

"I am a huge fan of role-playing when it comes to children, but parents should encourage positive role-play with their children," she adds.

She says that her children have been watching Batman, Ninjas and other superhero movies, but then they started to copy the characters, becoming those characters and wrestling around with each other.

"I noticed some behavioural changes with my four-year-olds. One of my sons would say, 'Mom can you switch on the lights,'" she shared, adding that her son was scared when he said this and she noticed that his sleep get disturbed too after watching such movies.

Her resolution was to ban her sons from watching such shows until they are older.

Also read: 'It takes a digital village to raise a digital child': Mom and co-founder of a local digital safety agency shares top tips

No changes

Mom Kim shared that her four-year-old daughter has watched some very scary movies like the Twilight collection and other vampire movies, but she did not seem to be affected after watching them.

"I actually have not noticed any changes in her behaviour," she said, adding that perhaps sleeping in the same room with her helps her daughter not to be scared.

She says that at three, her daughter went through a phase of being scared of monsters.

"I made a glitter and water anti-monster spray for her to use in her room. I also showed her Monsters Inc and how monsters can be friendly too," she explained.

Dad of three daughters, 2, 6, and 11, Tumishang*, shared, "I have no problem with my children watching scary movies because I have not noticed any changes in their sleep patterns or them behaving abnormally. I just like that once they watch a scary movie or something unusual on TV, they talk about it and share ideas on it."

"That's positive to me," says this dad. 

Sleep disturbances

Another mom of two boys, Phumelela, says that she would notice that her seven-year-old boy wakes up or shouts as if he is fighting in the middle of the night after watching an action-packed movie or scary movie.

While another Mom, Siphokazi, shared that she would hear that her children are not sleeping peacefully as they would speak while they are sleeping.

"I always watch and observe what they watch because I have noticed them having sleep disturbances when they are sleeping. They would speak in their sleep," she says.

*name changed

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