Children as young as three are playing cosmetic surgery games, with the aim of preparing them for procedures they will have when they grow up. Yes. You read that right. Courtesy of Google, Amazon and Apple, there are hundreds of pinkified, princess-y, saccharine-laced apps available for free download that teach kids physical “perfection” is the end and cosmetic surgery is the means.
In order for children (primarily school-aged girls) to win, they must transform the facial and bodily features of supposedly ugly characters with procedures such as liposuction, nose jobs, lip fillers, double-eyelid surgery and more.
Aside from cementing the normalisation of cosmetic surgery and presenting it as harmless as applying lipstick, these apps divorce children from their bodies, teaching them they are malleable and must be fixed. They initiate kids into a world that encourages them to make a project of their physical selves, evicting them from the bodies they should be able to live from in order to fully experience life and feel safe in their skin.
In research investigating the effects of makeover games on eight to ten-year-old girls, Dr Amy Slater at the Centre for Appearance Research found that girls who played these games for just ten minutes experienced increased body dissatisfaction and a preference for traditionally feminine careers. Dr Slater believes that as these apps share similar properties as cosmetic surgery apps for kids, “playing a game that encourages you to more permanently alter a character’s appearance also would not be good for how girls feel about themselves and their appearance.”
Likewise, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics called plastic surgery apps “inappropriate and irresponsible” in their 2017 report and agreed app stores should exclude these games. . .
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