Kids are playing Squid Game and beating up the losers, school warns

The innocent Red Light, Green Light game has turned violent in one Belgian school.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper

Playing marbles seems like an innocent pastime, but in Squid Game, they turn deadly.

Netflix/Youngkyu Park

Netflix hit show Squid Game isn't a children's show, even though its plot involves a deadly tournament of kids' games. Now one school in Belgium is reporting that kids are mimicking the show on the playground, and beating up those who lose the games.

Students at the municipal school of Erquelinnes Beguinage Hainaut have been taking inspiration from the show, The Brussels Times reports. They've been playing the stop-start game known in the US as Red Light, Green Light, and apparently known in Belgium as 1, 2, 3 Piano.

"We [must remain] vigilant so that this unhealthy and dangerous game is stopped," a representative for the school posted on its Facebook page this week. The post noted that the kids can still play the game, but just can't physically harm those who lose.

In the show, Red Light, Green Light is the first game the cash-strapped contestants play in the tournament. They're hoping to win big money, but soon find out that if they move after a giant robot doll calls out, "Red Light!" they are shot to death. Those who successfully cross the finish line are allowed to move on in the tournament.

While the show isn't meant for children, and features numerous bloody deaths, it's definitely captured the imagination of many. There are numerous memes involving the game, and Halloween costumes depicting the green-clad contestants, red-suited guards, and other characters are selling out.

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