Experts have called for tech companies to investigate and take down plastic surgery apps and games aimed at children.
Jeanette Edwards, Professor of Social Anthropology from The University of Manchester, said: “We’ve been shocked by some of the evidence we’ve seen, including make-over apps and cosmetic surgery ‘games’ that target girls as young as nine.”
Source: The Independent
The report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics found that under 18s are bombarded by images and messaging from social media that focus on body image.
Professor Edwards said, “Faebook, Instagram and Snapchat relentlessly promote unrealistic and often discriminatory messages on how people, especially girls and women, ‘should’ look.”
The Council warned of the impact this bombardment can have on the mental health of young people and urged social media channels to investigate, and to act on the findings.
One app that appears to target children is Princess Plastic Surgery, a game in which a cartoon princess has been made ‘ugly’ by an ‘evil witch’.
Source: Daily Mail
The app description says: “SOS! Princesses are cursed by evil witch! The witch made them ugly! Only you can help them! Don’t miss the chance to become a professional plastic surgery doctor!”
“Making fantastic surgery and give what princesses dream of. Face, nose, eyes, lip, make any plastic surgery that you can imagine! Become a real surgeon and perform plastic surgeries like a pro!”
In 2015/16, the NSPCC’s ChildLine service was contacted 1,600 times from girls worried about body image, a 17 per cent increase on the previous year.
An NSPCC spokesperson told MailOnline, “As a society, we should be encouraging children and teenagers to remember that everyone is different and body changes are a normal part of growing up, and not be providing them with the means to disfigure themselves, both temporarily and permanently.”
Michael Saul, from Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, said, “Pressurising children about body image is very dangerous. I sincerely hope that those with the power to do so take the necessary action to clamp down on this.”
Another app, Plastic Surgery Princess, allows users to upload and then edit a photo of themselves.
The app description says, “Are there parts of your face or body that you would like smaller, larger, wider, narrower etc that could be resolved with cosmetic surgery augmentation?”
“Have you thought of what you may look like with a breast or buttock lift? Let this app be your virtual guide to see what you would look like with that desired cosmetic surgery operation before contacting an aesthetic surgeon.”
The Council recommends banning all invasive cosmetic procedures on people under 18 unless a team of health professionals are involved.
Professor Edwards said: “Under 18s should not be able to just walk in off the street, and have a cosmetic procedure. There are legal age limits for having tattoos or using sunbeds. Invasive cosmetic procedures should be regulated in a similar way.”