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Russia’s Cyber Morality Squad to Inspect ‘Squid Game’ Over Child Safety Fears

The League for a Safe Internet said “some viewers, especially young people, may be tempted to repeat scenes from ‘Squid Game’.” Still from "Squid Game"

Russia’s volunteer cyber morality squad will inspect the hugely popular South Korean television series “Squid Game” over reports of young Russians imitating its violent versions of children’s games. 

The dystopian global smash hit — where South Korea’s most marginalized compete in traditional children's games for the chance to win 45.6 billion won ($38 million) and losing players are killed — is on track to become Netflix’s biggest show ever one month after its release.

According to the Podyom news website, the Russian government-linked League for a Safe Internet took up the call to launch an investigation into the series “after receiving several complaints from parents.”

“Many in our country and abroad are concerned about the series,” the League was quoted as saying.

“They believe that some viewers, especially young people, may be tempted to repeat scenes from ‘Squid Game’,” it added.

“Even with the age restriction, children will still watch this series just like any other films marked ‘18+’ in online cinemas.”

The League was established in 2011 by the state communications company Rostelecom, as well as private phone, internet and software companies to defend against child pornography, according to the U.S.-funded news organization RFE/RL’s Russian-language service.

But critics have claimed the League’s real focus is to monitor Russia’s social media landscape for other malicious content. 

It was not immediately clear whether Russian state authorities planned to take action against ”Squid Game” in the wake of the League’s announcement. 

Russia has a history of censoring or editing out scenes from foreign movies, usually ones that feature LGBT themes or portray sensitive subjects from Russia’s Soviet past, that hit the big screens in the country. 

AFP contributed reporting. 

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